Ruminations on Romanisation in the East: Or, the Metanarrative in History
British School at Athens, Beaver College Study in Greece
The ancient and deep interest in the fall of the Roman Empire is a social version of that personal instinct which makes a man concerned to know the origins of his own family (Campbell 1982: 8).
Without the rule of Rome, we do not choose even to live (Public document of 88 BC from Aphrodisias, in Mitchell 1993: 81, n.5).
Introduction: on the metanarrative and Romanisation
Many historians probably accept, if they are honest to themselves, that history is a notoriously slippery business. In many respects, history is intangible, incapable of being explained in words. History is the totality of everything, the 'word that fails us'. Keith Jenkins has maintained (Jenkins 1991, especially chapter 3) that we should not despair completely. The historian's goal today, he states, is to make the past a meaningful part of the present. History is an ongoing discourse that is relevant first and foremost to us today, and many different histories can and should be written on the same history, each striking at least one chord that supporters of an opposing or different interpretation can find significant.
Is to speak of different histories and of history in one and the same breath to posit a paradox? These questions should be kept in mind in the discussion below of the eastern Roman Empire (known today as Byzantium ). My intention is to extend the parameters of discourse on Romanisation by investigating such avenues that for the most part have been neglected. More specifically, I want to ask the following (arranged according to subheadings in the article): 1. What problems arise for historians and archaeologists when they study an empire that called itself Roman right to the very end of the medieval period, a time when Roman history as traditionally defined and studied today was long gone? 2. To what extent can the eastern Roman Empire be interpreted as the result of tension between and the convergence of the Hellenistic and Roman worlds in the period before Constantine the Great and the rise of Christianity? 3. Instead of seeing Christianity as a symptom of the decline of the Roman world, can it be defined as a re-Romanisation, a process where new life and impetus was breathed into the Roman polity at a crucial juncture in time? 4. On the basis of the above, can we speak meaningfully of a Roman material record? 5. In conclusion, is the modern approach to the eastern Roman empire attendant on specific ways in which the West defines and justifies itself in time? If so, what has this to say about modern approaches to history itself? The appreciation of these questions offered here involves the manner in which ideas of social and cultural cohesion are reproduced in time -- a conceptual or symbolic universe that may be called the metanarrative.
What do I mean by 'the metanarrative'? Just as with the lives of individual human beings, those of societies involve a perceived beginning, a genesis. There follows a narrative, a record of historical events which provides a skeletal structure to assist in pinpointing relationships between people, time and space. The meta-narrative, however, provides an all-encompassing context within which a society justifies and places itself in time and space. By the verb 'justify', I mean that a society comes to make sense of its perceived destiny in terms of itself and even more so in terms of other cultures. This may involve dimensions of a mythical, religious or metaphysical nature which by no means should be rejected by the scholar as being superfluous. History involves tracing the various adventures of a metanarrative through time.
One of the most complex and pervasive metanarratives in European history is that of Romanitas, the notion of belonging politically or emotionally (or both) to a universal order and culture associated in one way or another with the Roman Empire. In modern historical and archaeological jargon, the process by which Romanitas came to be significant to any particular cultural group is called Romanisation (Barrett 1997; Freeman 1993; Woolf 1992). This may be defined conventionally as follows: Romanisation was an historical process whereby the lands conquered by the forces of Rome or settled by its citizens or agents were drawn into a single political entity. The ruling elite and subject peoples of this polity came to share for the most part a common symbolic universe variously expressed in material, cultural and political terms, and enforced by the power of the army, pacts of alliance, and the authority of the emperor, all founded on the principle of law. In defining the ideological parameters of the Roman world, we can meaningfully speak of an administration, an army, and an imperial office and propaganda machine which did operate for the most part in a coherent and coordinated manner within the context of an empire that identified itself as Roman. On a material level, urban and rural landscapes and the nature of material objects and their distribution may define Romanisation, even in areas not directly under Roman political control.
The simplicity of the definition above makes it problematic, particularly since it does not define what the Roman Empire actually was. Nevertheless, if we are aware of these problems the definition may prove useful as a starting point in discourse. Even though Romanitas by about 212 CE (when the emperor Caracala extended Roman citizenship to all freed men) had become associated with an ecumenical idea rather than with a specific city, nation, ethnic or military group, the guises it took throughout the Empire were many and varied. Romanisation, therefore, must involve an equally multifarious process, and any definition must involve a blunt question, posed succinctly by John Barrett: 'Whenever we hear the term "Roman", we can ... ask: how was it possible to recognize and to embody that ideal, what did it mean at this time and in this place to make oneself Roman?' (Barrett 1997: 10) . Barrett agrees that Rome is best understood in terms of discourse and metanarrative. What did individual citizens mean when they called themselves Roman? What do we mean today when speaking of 'Roman' citizens? Is this epithet totally without meaning? Barrett answers:
To regard the Empire as a product of discourse is not to question its existence. On the contrary, it is to grasp the way that existence was created and reproduced in knowledge and in action. What it does do, however, is lead us to doubt that the Empire was ever a single reality, a totality whose truth can be reduced to a basic set of organizing principles or coercive forces. (ibid: 9)
This observation highlights how the history of any geopolitical formation reflects a complex interwoven fabric of metanarratives in time and space. In order to understand the process of Romanisation and the metanarrative which led the Hellenised peoples of the East to identify themselves as Romans, we have to grasp the larger picture before working backwards to trace the finer details.
1. Stating the problem: the eastern Roman or the 'Byzantine' empire?
Superficially, the problem announced in the subtitle above may appear manufactured and trite. It is well known that the emperors who ruled in Constantinople from Constantine I (324-37 CE) to Constantine XI (1449-53 CE) regarded themselves as the successors of Augustus. We all know that the term 'the Byzantine Empire' is a misnomer, invented by humanist scholars in the sixteenth century. The eastern Roman Empire never actually had an official name. The emperor styled himself as 'emperor of the Romans' to stress his universal pretensions. The nearest thing to a popular, as opposed to an official, name for the state was 'Romania', especially after the eleventh century. New Rome was a name for Constantinople, not an epithet of empire. If the word Byzantium was used at all, it was only as a rarefied name for the city of Constantinople (Kazhdan 1985: 1 ff.)
'We all know that the term "the Byzantine Empire" is a misnomer, invented by humanist scholars in the sixteenth century. The eastern Roman Empire never actually had an official name. The emperor styled himself as "emperor of the Romans" to stress his universal pretensions. The nearest thing to a popular, as opposed to an official, name for the state was "Romania" ...'
Although there is nothing new in the above, we persist in using the words Byzantium and Byzantine. It may be argued that they avoid considerable confusion given that 'Roman' can be applied to many contexts (Roman Republic; Roman Empire; Holy Roman Empire; the Roman Church and so on). Also, 'Byzantium' and its derivatives have been used for so long in history and archaeology that they have a fixed place in our vocabulary. It is, however, precisely for this reason that we should take a step back to ask: what does this word actually mean? what does it signify, if anything? and, most importantly, by using it in historical or archaeological discourse, do we create nebulous contexts and meanings that distort rather than clarify the record? The epithet 'Byzantine', after all, ignores what the eastern Romans meant when they called themselves Rhômaioi (the Greek word for Romans).
The use of the word 'Byzantium' leads to other problems. Where does Rome end and 'Byzantium' begin? What controls do we use to define or to rule out continuity: language and culture; modes of production; ideologies and institutions; religious life and worship? In nearly all these spheres, differences between the antique world and the eastern Roman Empire may be apparent, at least on the surface. These criteria are deemed important for the Western historical tradition because they appear to be concrete. They constitute fundamental chapters in the history of change in time; they can be compartmentalised and studied within a framework of empirical objectivity. Historical continuity in such an intellectual system is examined in terms of the development of external forms, whether these be material or social. Periods of change tend to increase in importance in such an historical record, while apparently static intervening periods are relegated to secondary status (q.v. Zanker 1988: 338-9). Modern notions of individuality, change, and progress have permeated so deeply into historical discourse that very few people appear to question why they should arouse such positive connotations.
The eastern Roman Empire is certainly difficult to comprehend if approached in terms of change and progress. 'Innovation' (kainotomia) was a negative concept almost throughout its long history (ODB 1991: 997-8). The fact that, as a constitutional entity, it represented the continuation of the Roman Empire of Augustus until 1453 CE has often perturbed scholars. Gibbon famously described its history as that of a 'decline and fall' but was generous enough, at least, to add 'of the Roman empire'. E. Stein termed it the 'Low' (Bas) empire; others (for example, J.B. Bury and A.H.M. Jones) the 'later', 'eastern' or 'east' Roman Empire; and the less charitable, empire of the 'Greeks', that of 'Constantinople' and, of course, 'Byzantium'. This naming game is reflected in the dating game historians are also obliged to play to provide neat and tidy chronologies for their narratives. Any teacher of Roman or eastern Roman history is well aware of the problems of defining her/his syllabus in terms of which year the Roman Empire ended and the eastern Roman Empire began. Dates vary from 305 (the abdication of Diocletian) to 800 CE (the coronation of the Frankish king Charlemagne as western emperor), though 476 CE and the collapse of the western Empire is still the most prevalent in popular history. Even this last date is confusing. It could be argued that, in returning the western imperial insignia to the emperor Zeno in Constantinople, the barbarian leader Odoacer actually reunited the Roman Empire in theory and precipitated a complex series of diplomatic and political events that defined Justinian's re-Romanisation of the sixth century CE (Cameron 1993b: 33 ff.). What enabled the eastern Romans to call themselves Romans for nearly a millennium after Odoacer's escapade? Any answer has to begin with the Hellenistic world, where the eastern Roman metanarrative essentially began.
2. Romanisation in the east and the Hellenistic legacy
The Hellenistic world comprised a diverse region stretching from Greece in the Northwest to Mesopotamia in the East and Egypt in the South. At an urbane level, this world was united by common cultural and political points of departure, mostly based on the Hellenic legacy as transformed by the feuding political 'Successors' (Diadochoi) of Alexander the Great, but including also significant aspects of the region's indigenous cultures. Hellenistic culture was cosmopolitan, and an interest in other peoples developed which went far beyond Herodotus' curious inquiries. Men and, to an extent, women were no longer confined by the boundaries or institutions of the city state, which, as a political institution made way for monarchies of vast territory. Intellectual life was united by a common field of discourse that could operate without forcing people into strict boundaries of outward conformity. Before Rome arrived in the eastern Mediterranean, educated people could travel from Athens to Alexandria, from Antioch to the land of the Parthians (Parthia) and hold discourse with their peers with little or no difficulty either in terms of language or ideas. More or less uniform artistic and architectural styles could be found wherever urbane society existed. Even religion underwent a rapid process of syncretism, whereby all gods were seen as manifestations of a single divinity (in general, see Green 1990; Pollitt 1986: 1-16).
Beginning in the second century BCE, Rome began to dominate the Hellenistic world, eventually incorporating it into the Empire by the first century CE. Roman imperialism, however, did not begin as a concerted agenda consciously developed and executed by a Roman elite.
Only in the late Republic did a self-conscious imperialism and a sense of Mediterranean hegemony take hold. The collapse of the Hellenistic powers in the later second century placed Rome in a role unanticipated and uncalculated but at last embraced both materially and culturally.... Overseas empire as an articulated concept gained formulation only after Rome had achieved it as a fact (Gruen 1984: 286) .
By the first century CE, the ancient Romans certainly had a powerful understanding of their preordained role in the civilised world. 'The divine spirit has allotted to the Roman state an excellent and temperate region so that they may rule the whole world' (Vitruvius De arch. 6.1.10-11, quoted in Whittaker 1994: 32). Not long ago, however, one noted historian could speak in terms of 'the victory of Roman imperialism over the Hellenistic system' (Momigliano 1971: 1). Since then, such clear-cut verdicts have been softened as close study of the process of Romanisation in the Hellenistic world provides us with a far more considered understanding of events. In political and military history (Green 1990: part five; Gruen 1984, especially 203 ff.; Millar 1993), art and intellectual life (Gruen 1996; Pollitt 1986; Robertson 1975; Zanker 1988 and 1995;), and religion (Turcan 1996) scholars have underscored the very complex cross-currents working in the Mediterranean basin despite the undoubted political and military superiority of Rome.
The reign of Augustus and his immediate successors represents a conscious attempt to justify not only Roman hegemony but also monarchic rule, shrouded though the latter may have been in the disguise of the Principate. Rome's increasingly imperial vision had found in the Hellenistic political metanarrative of absolute monarchy a potent blueprint for a new order. In one sense, Rome had been incorporated into the Hellenistic world and not vice versa. The advent of monarchy played in Rome a similar role to that which it played in the Hellenistic states -- the alienation from power of the urban elite, in this case the Senatorial elite. The revival of a Republican ideal was not feasible in a universal empire where the checks and balances of the older system could only serve to create discord and hamper administration. The eastward expansion of the Empire was attendant on monarchy, and the concept of monarchy was served by the Hellenistic model (Zanker 1988: 198 ff.)
Ironically, Augustus's new order was to be ushered in by the military defeat at Actium (31 BCE) of the Hellenistic metanarrative's two most outstanding exponents: Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Mark Antony had been highly influenced by the Hellenistic political and cultural synthesis (Zanker 1988: 44 ff.). Augustus may have regarded this synthesis as a useful ecumenical model onto which he could graft a highly efficient military and administrative machinery to realise Alexander the Great's vision of empire (Zanker 1988: 33 ff.). The pain that ensued when the Roman and Hellenistic political metanarratives clashed -- or perhaps coupled -- is well summed up in the conservative Suetonius's scandalous treatment of many of the period's emperors. Caligula and Nero, for instance, were not so much clinically mad as emperors who gave expression, albeit rather eccentrically, to what they thought a Hellenistic despot to be. The conservative Roman horror at luxuria (Zanker 1995: 204, and passim) had less to do with morals than with the fear of an alternative way of conceiving, rather than just exercising, power. Its echoes resound in European history whenever autocratic rule is opposed -- in the Puritan political tracts of seventeenth-century England, for example (Sharpe 1992: chapter 12).
Contacts between the Greek and Roman worlds, of course, had a long history (Gruen 1984: 250 ff.), but only after the second century BCE were relations more frequent and as a consequence more complex. Roman regard for Greek culture had always been high, but, while the glory that was Greece may have left some Latins weak at the knees, this need in no way imply that political, social or cultural developments should be assessed purely on the basis of the strength of the Graeco-Roman cultural dynamic (Alcock 1993: 3-6, and passim; Gruen 1984: chapter seven; Zanker 1995: 198-9). Zanker discusses the otium (leisure) and negotium (business) that characterised the lives of Roman worthies: an inward personal exploration culminating in the Hellenism of the Second Sophistic on the one hand, and an outward political affirmation of Roman imperial expansion on the other (Zanker 1995: 198 ff. and 203; also Gruen 1984: 273 ff.; Zanker 1988: 2-3, 34 ff.).
The outer and the inner visages are by no means incongruous. From the time of the reaction against Greek philosophy and mystery cults in the second century BCE (Gruen 1996: chapter two), Rome had always been suspicious of the subversive response that Greek intellectual speculation could arouse amongst its citizens, especially among its youth. Greek culture was to be nurtured in private and to be held in the highest esteem as a source for cultivation of mind and body, and for appreciating this in others. It could provide a channel for sublime aesthetic expression, and even the earliest Roman histories were written in Greek. In terms of public, political action, however, the Roman Senator or his emulator could ill afford to be identified as a Greek, whose qualities, when it came to political life, were considered far from trustworthy (see in general Gruen 1984: chapter seven).
The conscious Roman imitation or adoption of Hellenic or Hellenistic cultural models has nothing to do with an inferior culture mimicking a superior one. It underscores that the Roman polity identified itself -- quite legitimately, in its eyes -- with a far older order. When the Romans came to identify their progenitors with the ancient Trojans, they were repeating Greek allegations, not fabricating their own (Gruen 1996: 11 ff.). Troy itself became a symbol of Roman origins and destiny, so much so that Constantine may have contemplated building his capital there and not at Byzantium. The self- confidence in the Roman view of the past -- even of the Greek past -- was remarkable for its tenacity. The late third-century emperors' apprehension of their duty as one of ensuring epanorthosis, of setting things right, to a state they had been in a previously ideal world (Mitchell 1993: 207 ff.) should not be taken as mere oratory. It represents one of the most fundamental conceptual strands of the Roman, and by extension the eastern Roman, metanarrative.
What, then, did Rome itself have to offer the Hellenistic legacy? To rephrase the question, what did the eastern Mediterranean synthesis desire of its new Roman rulers? The answer: imperial rule, stability, administrative efficiency and coherence, and material infrastructure. With an emperor and the rule of law, with peace and prosperity, the Hellenistic metanarrative was eventually allowed to realise itself and flourish in a way it had never been able to, given the strife between the contending Diadochoi. The Hellenistic ideal image of the perfect ruler had a long history that can be traced back before Alexander. Pericles Georges makes a subtle comparison between Xenophon's Cyropaedia and Polybius's work in this context:
In its assumptions, the Cyropaedia is comparable to Polybius' historical analysis of the stability and imperial achievement of the Roman res publica in terms of Greek theory of constitutions, which Polybius had inherited from Plato and Aristotle. It was impossible for Polybius to regard the Roman achievement as a phenomenon sui generis; the only solution for a man of his culture lay in reasoning that the Romans had succeeded where the Greeks had failed because they had created and maintained a constitutionally balanced and directed polity according to universal principles (Georges 1994: 228).
Greeks in Greece, such as Xenophon, and more so in Asia Minor appear to have been groping towards the Hellenistic metanarrative even before Macedon reached into Asia (see Robertson 1993, for discussion on parallels in Hellenistic art).
Reflected in the Roman polity, the Hellenistic metanarrative now shone with an even greater glory and made even better sense (Zanker 1988: 336). More than a few rulers of piecemeal territories in Asia left their birthright to the emperor in their wills (Mitchell 1993: 61 ff.). It is hardly coincidental that the urbane Hellenised class of state bureaucrats in the East never aimed to gain the imperial office for themselves before the medieval period. (A dynasty of ethnically Greek emperors never existed before the Komnenoi came to power in 1081 CE!) This class of administrators neither wanted nor needed the purple robe. It was internal peace and stability which served their interests in the best possible way. If far-off emperors could provide this, then so much the better for everyone (Brown 1971: chapter five; Brown 1992: chapters one and two; Cameron 1993a: chapter seven; Gruen: 1984: 316 ff.).
From the perspective of the eastern part of the Empire, however, what did Roman expansion mean for the inhabitants of town and country? Was it a simple question of imperialist brute force and subjugation? Did the Roman metanarrative change over time, and if so, how and why? How did the subjected peoples of the East perceive this? Did their sense of being subjected change over time? The situation in Greece has attracted much attention in this respect.
It may well be that [the] Greek cultural-political identity was always more important than the Roman political one, which often appears on inspection (where this is possible) to be local, temporary, and a matter of shared interests or self-interests (Swain 1996: 412).
Roman influence, however, could be more significant than the passage above appears to imply.
The direct and indirect effects of imperial incorporation reached deep within Greek society, to a degree not previously acknowledged, transforming not only the way in which people lived and interacted with each other, but also their civic image and self-perceptions, their reading of the past, and their plans for a future (Alcock 1993: 218).
Juxtaposed as they are above, these two quotes appear to conflict, but in fact, they both sum up the complexity of the Roman presence in Greece. To them may be added comments by Swain on the disdain the Greek elite showed to Latin culture during the Second Sophistic, though he stresses that 'no general hostility to Roman rule' is evident at this time, and habits of Roman everyday life were not rejected out of hand (Swain 1996: 411, 412, 418-21). Roman policy in Greece was elastic precisely because it often pursued short-term goals and avoided long-term interventions into the cultural fabric of the region. Nevertheless, the impetus provided by peace and relative prosperity in the first and second centuries CE had the long-term affect of making Rome a given, something that had always been there (see the quotation from Aphrodisias at the beginning of this paper). More than anything, this is due to the fact that Romanisation was perceived as a logical continuation of Hellenisation in the region. In their essential goals and broader outlook, they would merge, almost inevitably, into one and the same metanarrative -- that of the eastern Roman Empire. Nothing underscores the fluidity of this process more than the paradox of the 196 CE destruction layer left by the Roman emperor Septimus Severus in the city of Byzantium -- under the very same hippodrome where the Romans were to proclaim their emperors less than 150 years later. For the metanarrative of empire to survive after the third and fourth centuries, it had to undergo a series of redefinitions, what I shall call 're-Romanisations'.
3. Re-Romanisation and Christianity
During the period from Augustus to the reign of the emperor Caracala (211-17 CE), the Roman metanarrative was very much a given; it needed no policy of justification because there was no rival power with universal pretensions of similar eloquence to challenge it. The treacherous but cosmetic attempt to dominate the Parthians made by Caracala (Fowden 1993: 24-7) -- an emperor very much in the Hellenistic mould (Zanker 1995: 267 ff.) -- prefigured the revival of Persia under the Sassanians in 226 CE. Now two ancient cultural-political metanarratives confronted each other in the eastern Mediterranean for the first time since Alexander the Great. Ironically, the integration of the Hellenistic world into the Roman Empire meant that the Romans and the Persians (who had contributed to the Hellenistic synthesis) were pronouncing increasingly similar metanarratives, especially when it came to their universal and autocratic pretensions (in general, Fowden 1993: chapter one). It would seem, then, that the increased autocracy of Roman rule during the later third century (Gallienus, Aurelian, Diocletian, Constantine), and the potent symbols of power that were developed to express it (the title dominus et deus, the diadem, acts of veneration of the emperor, the development of a divine palace and so on), have to be seen in the context of an attempt to redefine, or rather to clarify, what Romanitas was in the face of a threatening mirror image in the East. It is no coincidence that emperors at this time begin to speak in terms of epanorthosis (see above). The rise of Christianity should also, I believe, be seen in this context of re-Romanisation.
The concept of 're-Romanisation' is useful in explaining how the notion of Romanitas was adapted to changing conditions over time. Throughout the late antique and medieval periods, ancient ways of justifying the Roman polity, its power and its goals were periodically renewed, reinvigorated, and even at times transformed to reaffirm Romanitas. The fusion of Roman and Hellenistic metanarratives that created the Principate was no less a process of re-Romanisation than the adoption of Christianity under Constantine, the latter of which being perhaps the most significant step in the monumental period of transformation between the ancient and the medieval worlds. In the eastern Roman Empire, this was accompanied after the sixth century CE by other metamorphoses: the adoption of Greek as the official language of state; the imposition of increasingly autocratic and centralised rule; and changes in social structure and relations, culture, urban and economic life; and modes of production (outlined in Cameron 1993b). Are these and other transformations incompatible with Romanitas, given that Romanitas can itself undergo periodic reinterpretation?
The conversion of the Empire to Christianity was largely, but not exclusively, assisted by the geographical and psychological dislocations that took place in the third century (defeat at the hands of barbarians and Persians; severe economic and political strife; social anxiety; see Jones 1964: chapter one). The groundwork for universal Christianity had been laid by the syncretic polytheism of the centuries before Constantine (Fowden 1993: chapter 2). If men and women could worship whom they wanted, granted that all deities were manifestations of the one supreme God, then why not worship the supreme God directly? Christianity represented for Constantine and many others the best way to worship the great divinity that they thought existed. Conversions to Christianity after the fourth century CE do not always take the form to which we are accustomed today: from atheism to belief, or from one false god to a true god (q.v. Meeks 1993: 18 ff., 31-2), many converted polytheists regarded their former beliefs as 'looking through a glass darkly', to paraphrase St Paul. The syncretic nature of Roman religion allowed men and women to 'receive Christ' by recognising Him as the unknown God that they had, in a sense, always been worshipping. The understandable rhetoric of the Christian apologists and their opponents aside, the conversion of the Empire was a far more fluid and painless affair than many would admit today (q.v. Lane Fox 1986: especially chapters 12 and 13).
The question of the conversion of the Empire is a problematic one. Much of the problem involves considerable intellectual baggage amassed in both Christian and non-Christian camps over the last two centuries. The tendency, still prevalent, to make hard and fast distinctions between Christians and pagans has made it at times difficult to comprehend the events of the fourth to seventh century CE.
The ... interesting question is why the Greeks themselves gave up worshipping their old gods, the start of the process which led them assuming the name Rhômaioi as a testimony of their new faith. ... [I]t was through religion that the whole classicizing edifice gave way (Swain 1996: 422).
These conclusions need qualification. Swain has compartmentalised the worship of the old gods with quintessential Hellenism, and he has juxtaposed this with Christianity and the eastern Roman's notion of him/herself as a Rhômaios (the Greek name for Romans used by the eastern Romans and, to this day, by Greeks in Turkey and some in Greece itself). Swain appears to regard religion, and specifically Christianity, as some alien force that brought ancient culture to an end. Such a conclusion pays little or no attention to the forces I have tried to outline above. The changes involved in the conversion to Christianity have as much to do with the re-Romanisations of the metanarrative of Romanitas as they have with the Church and its mission. In this re-Romanisation, the culture of antiquity did not get jettisoned but was subtly transformed in a multifarious and highly complex manner (see for example Mathews 1993; Pelikan 1993: chapter one). Indeed, the 'classicizing edifice' that Swain speaks of was given a new lease of life by the advent of Christianity (Jaegar: 1961), but not in the form that the western intellectual tradition admits to be valid. Again, we are up against the Rome vs Byzantium dilemma.
Christianity, or rather monotheism, had an important influence on the development of absolute monarchy, though it should be stressed again that this was underway a good half century before Constantine was even born. Divinely sanctioned imperial power, a mainstay of the Hellenistic metanarrative, could only be maintained if a single God issued ultimate authority. The imperial theme of unity and concord was easier to propound if successive emperors maintained a constant allegiance to one deity, and that deity had to be the most transcendent of all -- the God the Christians had ready to offer. At the same time, the figure of Christ (Son of Man, as well as Son of God) provided one of the most powerful images of human solidarity ever to have appeared in the Mediterranean. The emperor's submission to Christ now became the great paradigm for the subject's submission to the emperor (Turcan 1996: Epilogue, esp. 339 ff.) .
The first Christian emperors and their eulogists developed notions of Christian-Roman universalism: all the civilised world (the oikoumenê) was destined to come into the fold of the Church (Fowden 1993: 90 ff.) Under Christ, the Roman imperial office now reflected the very throne of God. The Empire signified the mystical union of the heavenly kingdom with the mundane polity. This has nothing to do with concepts of an institutional cooperation between Church and state. It constituted a cosmological event. The Roman Christians regarded the presence of Augustus and Christ on earth at the same time as a prefiguration of the eternal kingdom. As there was only One God, there could only be one emperor, and one people. All other peoples would one day be called to the Church, but until that time, they should recognise the supremacy of the emperor, and he should rule by the precepts of Roman law and Christian piety (see Clark 1991). The imperial cult intensifies: even though Constantine was reluctant to use the title divus for his own person, his successors restored it in a quasi-secularised form to connote the sacred majesty of the emperor, his family, and his palace and retinue (Jones 1949: 201-2, 1964: 93-7).
There could be no Church without the Empire. The Empire, however, could not be a new empire. It had to be that universal polity which had already existed: the Roman Empire. Christ appealed directly to Constantine, to the emperor -- not via the Church or through saints and missionaries. And He did so because Constantine was the emperor of Rome. To conceive, then, of Constantine's successors as not being emperors of Rome would be to deny not only the legitimacy of empire, but also that of the Church itself, the heart of all that the eastern Romans held as crucial to their metanarrative. Therefore, the Empire had to be Roman; this was not a question of choice or whim. (On eastern Roman imperial ideology in general, see Barker 1957; Barnes 1981: chapters 14 and 15; Brown 1992: 118 ff.; Fowden 1993: chapter 4; Millar 1977: 551 ff.; Millar 1993: 207 ff.; for a theological perspective, Schmemann 1979: chapters two and three).
The two great metanarratives after Constantine, Christian Roman and Zoroastrian Persian, were both monotheist and universalist in character. Interestingly, legends associated with Constantine the Great's conversion involved a heavenly vision (Eusebius: Vita Constantini: I, 28) very similar to the one Xenophon (albeit apocryphally) reports Cyrus and his army witnessing while marching through Anatolia over 600 years earlier (Cyrop. 4.2.15). Both Xenophon and Eusebius, when lauding Cyrus and Constantine respectively, speak of their heroes and God's munificence associated with them in almost exactly the same manner (Barnes 1981: chapters 14 and 15; Georges 1994: chapter 7). Constantine himself is said, as early as 310 CE, also to have had a vision of Apollo and Nike (Victory) telling him much the same things as Christ told him (Lieu and Montserrat 1996: 63 ff.). Augustus had his star, a comet that appeared in 44 BCE and was taken to be a heavenly sign. He exploited the star on his coins (Zanker 1988: 34-5), just as Constantine used the cross in his labarum (imperial standard) and on his soldiers' shields. The parallels with Alexander the Great need no retelling ( q.v. Stewart 1993: 95 ff.).>
The epic struggle between Roman and Persian Empires ended in the long drawn out war of 602-28 CE, during which religious, rather than political or territorial, causes were at the fore. On defeating the Persians, the emperor Heraklios (610-641 CE) officially adopted the title basileus, a Greek title that had been held by Hellenistic sovereigns but, after Roman ascendancy, came to be the exclusive honorific of the now vanquished Persian king. The symbolic significance of the synthesis of the Hellenistic, Roman, Christian, and Persian metanarratives in a single world -- basileus -- can be interpreted as a powerful symbol of re-Romanisation (cf. Haldon 1990: 41 ff., chapter 8) .
Heraklios, of course, hardly had time to get used to his new title when the forces of Islam penetrated the Empire's eastern borders. Even the long and complex seventh century, however, culminating in the iconoclastic period (726-843 CE), provided yet another opportunity for re-Romanisation. When the icons were proclaimed in Constantinople in 843 CE, they were regarded as symbols of orthodoxy, actual signs of victory and correct doctrine (on the icon, see Maguire 1996). Religious orthodoxy had now, in the political nonsense made out of universal rule by the rise of Muhammad and Charlemagne, come to define the Romanitas of the medieval empire of the Romans (i.e. the eastern Roman Empire). Indeed, the Mediterranean reality defined in 842/3 CE by the Triumph of Orthodoxy in the East (Herrin 1987: 473 ff.), the Partition of Verdun in the Carolingian West in the same year (Arnold 1997: 37, and passim), and the accession of the Caliph al-Muta'sim a decade earlier in Baghdad (Hodges and Whitehouse 1983: 150 and passim; Kennedy 1986: chapter 6) defined the particularities and the metanarratives of the three competing heirs to Rome -- Greek (and later Graeco-Slavonic) East, Latin West, and Arabo-Persian Islam.
The subsequent history of the eastern Mediterranean is dominated by states with universal, rather than national, pretensions. Until 1204 CE (the year the Fourth Crusade captured and sacked Constantinople), the eastern Roman Empire was pre-eminent amongst these. It should be noted, however, that the Empire rapidly came to recognise that it could not enforce direct political and administrative control over many of the peoples in its sphere of influence, especially the newly ascendant Slavs. Re-Romanisation after 843 CE, therefore, aimed to incorporate these peoples into what has been called a 'commonwealth' rather than an empire (Obolensky 1974: 13 ff.). The fundamental point of convergence here was religion, specifically Orthodoxy as established with the triumph of the icons in 843. That process formed the eastern Europe that we know today and still provides a 'common ground' for Orthodox Christians from Arkhangel to Athens.
The Latin West proclaimed itself an heir to the Roman Empire with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 CE. The process of re-Romanisation in the West was complex, involving a far from harmonious partnership between a religious authority that claimed the authority of 'old' Rome (the papacy) and its creation, the Holy Roman Empire. Papacy and empire struggled between themselves, at times viciously, to determine the boundaries of the authority of each in both secular and religious domains. From early on, however, the popes construed their power in terms of a Roman imperial mandate over the West, 'donated' to them by Constantine the Great. Their pretensions would, in time, include authority over all Christians, wherever they might be found, and this led to a clash with the bishops of the Church in the East. The development of papal authority was almost thrust onto Rome's bishop because he, especially after 476 CE, had to maintain his position in political, as well as religious, terms given the increasing political isolation of the Holy See from Constantinople. The only paradigm he could use, in the eternal city itself, was the Roman imperial one. As Rome drifted apart from Constantinople, so Roman pretensions to universal power grew by geometric progression. It is no coincidence that the forged Donation of Constantine came into use in the late eighth century CE, on the eve of Charlemagne's coronation (in general, see Meyendorff 1989: 59 ff., 148 ff.; Ullman 1972: 4 ff., 72 ff.).
Unlike the east, the west, influenced by notions of barbarian kingship and the ownership of property by royal retainers (Anderson 1974: 107 ff., 147 ff.), maintained a heightened sense of dynastic kingship and the almost sacred nature of national boundaries. Any sense of loyalty to a greater 'Roman' ideal was manifested in terms of religion (Catholicism) and culture, not in terms of direct allegiance to a universal sovereign. (The Holy Roman emperors were little more than presidents of confederated states, not emperors in the eastern Roman sense of absolute monarchs.) By way of contrast, states such as Bulgaria and Serbia in the east through the centuries harboured dreams of one day capturing Constantinople, not to establish large national empires but to put one of their own at the head of the universal Roman polity (q.v. Fine 1994: 309-14). The Ottomans and their Islamic rivals also regarded the capture of the eastern Roman capital as fulfilling such a goal, dictated by no less a text than the Qur'an.
The Ottomans would come to represent the last great universal empire of the eastern Mediterranean. Although their Sultans saw themselves as successors of the Caliphs (and thus of Muhammad), many Orthodox Christians came to justify Ottoman rule as divine punishment for the hated 1438/9 CE Union with the papacy which, ironically, threatened their identity as Rhômaioi. For reasons He knew best, God had sent an Ottoman Sultan to reunite the Empire, to restore peace and preserve the Church (Fine 1994: 604-11; Runciman 1968: 394). A very similar justification had been used by their Hellenised ancestors to support the Pax Romana some one and a half millennia before. While the Orthodox Christians now continued their Roman metanarrative in a transformed world, their Ottoman overlords also considered themselves legitimate heirs to the Caesars (Babinger 1978: 416 ff.). Like the eastern Romans before them, the Ottomans never proffered an official name for their polity. It simply existed as part of a divine plan. It is not too much of an exaggeration to state that, with the abolition of the Ottoman empire in 1923, a whole process of re-Romanisations that had begun at Actium or even -- anachronistically -- under Alexander the Great, finally came to an end.
4. The Roman material record: does it exist?
How can we approach the question of Roman material culture after having extended the definition of the Roman to an almost bewildering degree? The archaeological record of the former territories of the Roman Empire involves a daunting multiplicity of objects, contexts, landscapes, domiciles, public works, and monuments. Since the material finds are quite varied in their piecemeal components, can we recognise a general overarching context within which a community, from provincial capital to humble village, existed as part of the Roman polity? Roman forts are not like Celtic ones, Roman cities are distinct from Greek ones, and Roman theatres, temples, farmsteads and roads can be classified as adhering to a specific, albeit varied, group that can meaningfully be called Roman. These material remains alone, even in the absence of literary evidence, are usually sufficient to indicate that a community was either founded or subjugated by agents of Roman imperial power, or brought into the orbit of Rome through a more complex process of cultural, political, or economic osmosis or some combination thereof.
The material culture outlined above, however, is that which predominated from about 200 BCE to 400 CE, namely the period now defined as 'Roman' in modern historical and archaeological discourse. No doubt this is why it is called a Roman material culture today. As the boundaries of discourse about the Roman Empire expand, some scholars have expressed concern about whether we can speak of a Roman material culture at all. 'It is doubtful whether the traditional archaeological approach to the material culture of the [Late Roman] period will be able to stand the test of criticism any longer' (Alkemade 1997: 180; see also the discussion in Barrett 1997).
Material culture becomes infused with meaning because of multifarious associations which have little or nothing to do with an object itself. Even the technology involved in an object's manufacture cannot be divorced from broader social and cultural contexts (Lechtman 1994: 4; Lemonnier 1986). Archaeologists have recently been pondering the relationship between material objects and human existence (e.g. Barrett 1994). How do people relate to things over time? What memories are transmitted in time via material things? What did heirlooms mean to people centuries after they were brought into a family's possession? These questions are rarely asked by those scholars who constantly seek to observe how signs of change can be observed in the material record. Change, as we have seen, is a very modern notion that needs considerable qualification each and every time it is employed in discourse. It is ludicrous to ask a question such as: 'When did the members of a hypothetical family suddenly realise that they were Byzantines and not Romans?' Yet this is the type of question posed, indirectly, when academic discourse chooses to define change in the study of the past. Some modes of delineation may be necessary, given that we have to structure and organise our thoughts and arguments, but too often delineation and compartmentalisation take a life of their own and dominate any attempt at interpretation.
For argument's sake, consider Roman pottery. The term 'Roman pottery' has no intrinsic meaning when it comes to describing the sum of all ceramic wares produced in the Empire. As an all-encompassing term it can, at best, only delineate a temporal and spatial boundary of production: all pottery produced in the Roman Empire. If we are to limit the term to describe specifically Italian ceramics, we confront another problem. Italian wares were often heavily influenced by Greek traditions and were disseminated throughout the Empire where they in turn influenced aspects of provincial production. Terra sigillata (embossed or plain red-gloss pottery) presents an obvious example, but the red-gloss technique itself was a Hellenistic development. Lead-glaze pottery, on the other hand, which influenced Byzantine, medieval Western and Islamic pottery was encountered in the East in Hellenistic times, yet it is quite meaningfully discussed as a late phase of Roman pottery production technology. Another example: a Roman Gaza amphora is a commonly found vessel that intrinsically has nothing to do with the expansion of specifically Latin material culture during the Roman period. Its Romanness is defined by the fact that it travelled far and wide within a broad context of manufacture, trade, and consumption administered by a political hierarchy devoted to the Roman ideal.
The study of Roman pottery involves the use of conceptual tags to define clay vessels that, for the most part, cannot be defined as Roman in the sense that we define material objects as belonging to other cultures (for example, Aztec, Bugandan, Minoan). The pottery that circulated in the Roman Empire can meaningfully be described as Roman only because of the metanarrative that defined what the Roman empire was. If this metanarrative continued in the eastern Roman Empire until the fifteenth century CE, should a 'Byzantine' glazed bowl be termed 'Roman'? Can a distinction be made between the theoretical Roman metanarrative discussed above and the material record left by people who lived with that metanarrative? How far can this metanarrative be extended? It is ironic that, until relatively recently, all post-classical sherds that could not be securely identified on a Mediterranean excavation were simply marked 'Roman'; in the context of this paper, this was far from an incorrect approach!
Take another example. The presence of German burials in Gallo-Roman cemeteries may indicate the intrusion of German tribes into formerly Roman communities. Then again, elite German burials including weapons (many of them purely ceremonial), 'bracelets' (actually pendants incorporating Late Roman coins or imitations), and imperial insignia such as crossbow broaches (Whittaker 1994: 267, fig. 50) are exactly what we would expect from barbarians attempting to underline their prestigious position as Roman Federates (barbarian troops employed by the Roman empire), which they seem to have been for the most part . To what extent is such a burial assemblage German, and to what extent Roman? Without the Roman factor it may not have even existed. What are we to make of the Theodosian base of the Egyptian obelisk in Constantinople's hippodrome (c. 390 CE), where long-haired and bearded Gothic Federates are shown quite distinctly as the close retainers of the Roman emperor? Is this a Germanisation of Rome or a Romanisation of Germania? A British fort in India may be considered a sign of British imperialism. A mosque in Regents Park, however, is in no way a sign of Mogul imperialism in Britain but of a far more complex post-imperial phenomenon.
'What are we to make of the Theodosian base of the Egyptian obelisk in Constantinople's hippodrome (c. 390 CE), where long-haired and bearded Gothic Federates are shown quite distinctly as the close retainers of the Roman emperor? Is this a Germanisation of Rome or a Romanisation of Germania? A British fort in India may be considered a sign of British imperialism. A mosque in Regents Park, however, is in no way a sign of Mogul imperialism in Britain but of a far more complex post-imperial phenomenon'.
The coastal Roman-Byzantine site at Synaxis near Maroneia in Thrace reinterpreted Romanitas within new contexts for many centuries. (It was excavated by Dr Charalambos Bakirtzis and is outlined in Turner 1998; Thrace 1994: 167 ff.) An important Hadrianic heroön appears to have existed there because the site had been associated with Maron, the priest of Apollo, mentioned in the Odyssey. Part of the site actually does contain fortification walls dating to the ninth to eighth century BCE. The fifth-century CE Christian basilica built on the Hadrianic heroön sanctified the older shrine, and the tenth-century monastery complex which reused the basilica walls was nothing less than an act of mimesis, or inspired imitation of the 'good old days' of Constantine the Great and Justinian. Dr Bakirtzis's interpretation of how the monastery carefully nestles into the pre-existing structure is a telling sign of conscious reuse and understanding of a site after nearly six centuries. The idea of Rome pervades this site well into the Middle Ages. There is a perceived link between Homer, Hadrian, Constantine and mid-Byzantine monasticism: the word that describes it is 'Roman'. By starting from the metanarrative we can perhaps arrive at a better understanding of how material cultures are interpreted and reinterpreted over time.
5. The other side of Actium
Peter Green ends his monumental study of the Hellenistic world with the following comment:
Only Alexander ... could eclipse the mesmeric fascination that [Cleopatra] exercised down the centuries, and still exercises, upon the European imagination: the perennial symbol of what, had Actium gone the other way, might have been a profoundly different world (Green 1993: 682).
This is a fascinating statement for a historian of the eastern Roman Empire. The 'profoundly different world' that Green treats as a nebulous 'may-have-been' actually did exist later on; it was the eastern Roman Empire. Green implies that the Hellenistic legacy as a political-cultural alternative somehow expires with Cleopatra. By the time of Constantine, however, the Empire had accommodated the world of the Ptolomies and their rival Diadochoi into a system of imperial ideology that may represent a 'profoundly different world' from the West. The world of Constantine and his successors was Roman by the admission of its emperors and citizens, and it did survive for a millennium. The quotation above underscores a clear alternative between two concepts of Roman continuity: one based in the West, the other in the East. Are they compatible? How can we write the history of a polity or culture where more than one history exists?
I should now briefly summarise the points made above by way of an answer to the questions listed at the beginning of this paper. These will begin with the specific observations pertaining to Romanisation before approaching the more theoretical question of 'different histories'.
Although the word 'Byzantium' has long been in use amongst scholars and laymen, its circulation masks the fact that the eastern Roman empire employed a complex metanarrative that enabled its citizens to call themselves Romans (Rhômaioi / Rhômioi). This involved identification with the legacy not only of the Roman Empire of Augustus and his successors, but also of other universal metanarratives such as that of the Hellenistic world and of the Judaeo-Christian religion.
The tensions involved in the process of Roman expansion into the eastern Mediterranean and the establishment of a Roman Empire with universal pretensions were alleviated by the synthesis of the Roman and Hellenistic world views. Both increasingly shared common points of departure regarding culture (an immensely important agent of social cohesion in pre-modern societies) and universal authority, increasingly embodied in the office and the very person of the emperor.
This process of synthesis was stimulated by a number of developments, in this paper termed re-Romanisations, whereby the metanarrative of empire was given new impetus in the face of specific crises or social-cultural-religious impasses. In this respect, the reigns of Augustus (the Principate), Hadrian (the Second Sophistic), and Constantine (Christianity) may be looked at as variations on a theme of universal rule that can trace its origins to the Hellenistic metanarrative, which, as we have noted, may date to before its greatest champion, Alexander the Great.
Far from representing the decline of Rome, the advent of the Christian Church could be regarded as the most important of all the re-Romanisations since it established a viable and long-lived context within which the Roman metanarrative of Constantine's day could survive and develop over time. This metanarrative split into eastern and western versions, the one asserting a claim to the constitutional legitimacy of the Roman empire via Christ's miraculous encounter with its emperor Constantine (Constantinople), and the other ultimately basing its authority on the keys of St Peter (the Roman papacy and, by extension, the Holy Roman Empire). Both these metanarratives managed to survive for so long because their planes of reference, extending now into a divine kingdom and not just a mundane one, could exist as ideas rather than geopolitical realities. (For the eastern Roman view, see the celebrated letter of 1395 sent by the patriarch Antony to the Grand Prince Vasilii, Barker 1957: 194 ff.) The destruction of the political manifestation of the Rhômaioi in 1453 CE and the subsequent domination of the Ottoman sultans can also be interpreted as a re-Romanisation. The Empire was restored to a geographical extent it had not known since Heraklios, and its universal pretensions were intact. Does it matter that the Sultan was Muslim and not Christian? He and many Orthodox Christians did not think so because both could embark on yet another process of re-Romanisation. This ability to negotiate between geopolitical and metaphysical realities without losing site of the fundamental basis of the universal idea is what the redefinitions of Romanisation are all about, from Augustus to Mehmet the Conqueror.
Although it may appear somewhat out of context, I included an extended discussion of the Roman material record because I think it makes a point, especially for the readers of assemblage. If we understand Rome and Romanisation as aspects of the historical record radically different to those widely accepted until now, what ramifications does this have for archaeological discourse? How should we use the epithet 'Roman' on our accession cards? The problem boils down to how we treat ideas and their transformation in time as realities. In a predominantly materialist culture such as exists today, this is almost impossible to do. Should we, however, ignore the problem completely and just continue with pre-established categories? For the moment, I think that it is inevitable that we shall. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that it is to the benefit of archaeologist and historian alike, when undertaking research, to be aware of the great variety of interpretations, valid interpretations, that are available. This may assist in understanding any given assemblage in a more profound manner.
I want to bring this collection of thoughts to an end by explaining why I believe the seemingly innocuous question of a name ('Rome' or 'Byzantium') may have significant ramifications for historical and archaeological research. This has nothing really to do with facts, or even 'new' evidence. It has, in contrast, to do with evidence so old and so self-evident that we tend to ignore it.
Rome as a political construct is associated by most people today with something specifically Latin, something that has to do with the city of Rome. This popular Latinised conception of Rome has to be a matter of concern to the historian precisely because it highlights a misconception that can affect -- here and now -- crucial choices in the realm of historical and archaeological research, and political choice and action. As concerns the Romanisation of the East, no constructive statements can be made if Roman is taken exclusively to mean Latin. Even less sense can be made, if the Roman is studied and treated as a separate entity from the Hellenistic. And no sense can be made of the eastern Roman Empire if it is always to be thought of as being 'Byzantine', precisely because there has never been a person who considered her/himself as Byzantine.
When historians agree to change the name of a polity, they are taking the first step toward redefining metanarratives for people who are not able to defend themselves. (I discuss this in more depth in Turner 1997.) Eastern Roman studies developed at a time of Reformation, Enlightenment, and Rationalism, and flourished during the modern and postmodern world of today. The eastern Roman Empire, however, derived from the very same world of Late Antiquity that the West today looks back to as its emotional and cultural ancestor. In any discussion of that Empire, then, the historian is confronted with alternatives. Why did the East develop in one way when the West, which shares the same background, developed in another? Given that there are two alternatives, the West can only choose to carve its own in stone since any other course would lead to doubts about the validity of the present geopolitical, economic and cultural system. The adoption of the name 'Byzantium' in the sixteenth century ultimately isolated the Roman legacy in the East to a position where it could no longer challenge the resurgent West. Only then was the battle of Actium really lost.
The East-West dilemma is best witnessed by taking modern Greece as an example. In Greece, a bewildering network of metanarratives co-exist, mostly because the imposition of Western cultural norms and historical theories from the eighteenth century onwards has twisted the once predominant metanarrative of Roman and Orthodox (expressed in Greek by the complex term Rhômiosyne) out of all recognition. The eastern Roman medieval Greeks have been isolated from the national consciousness because they are 'Byzantines' and not Hellenes, because when they are called Rhômaioi/Rhômioi (Romans) they are associated with Latins or modern right-wing romantics, and especially because they represent a perceived medieval mindset that the West has damned once and for all. Of course, the modern 'ancient' metanarrative now has a life all of its own and its most enthusiastic champions are Greek rather than Philhellenes from the West (for a well intentioned but limited analysis of the modern Greek historical consciousness, see Herzfeld 1986, 1987). This has, however, led to a peculiar situation. As far as I know, Greece is the only country in Europe with such a poor, incoherent popular conception of its medieval past. Today, it has to live out an antiquarian metanarrative fabricated for it by the West and by effete eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philhellenism (on which, see Alcock 1993: 3; Holden 1972; Constantine 1984) .
Every metanarrative infuses both societies and individual human beings with meaning. Although metanarratives may change over time, even those of the distant past all have something to teach us because they once were fundamental in defining a specific human condition. The human common denominator means that one metanarrative can have discourse with another, no matter how divorced in time, space or temperament. As far as is possible, these metanarratives have to be approached in a manner that does not force them into grotesque shapes. The historian's job is to trace these metanarratives and converse with them within the context of her/his own metanarrative. The parameters of such a dialogue involve ethics. But that is another story.
I would like to thank Mr John Barrett, Mr Michael Boyd, Dr Roger Doonan, Mr Jonas Eiring, Dr Garth Fowden, Mr Malcolm Nicholson, Dr Guy Sanders, Dr Jan Sanders, and Ms Rebecca Sweetman for their input into both the recent past and the hectic present.
Copyright © D.R. Turner 1998
Copyright © assemblage 1998