A recent surge of interest in network approaches to the study of the ancient world has enabled scholars of the Roman Empire to move beyond traditional narratives of domination, resistance, integration and fragmentation. This relational turn has not only offers tools to identify, map, visualize and, in some cases, even quantify interaction based on a variety of ancient source material, but also provides a terminology to deal with the everyday ties of power, trade, and ideology that operated within, below, and beyond the superstructure of imperial rule. Thirteen contributions employ a range of quantitative, qualitative and descriptive network approaches in order to provide new perspectives on trade, communication, administration, technology, religion and municipal life in the Roman Near East and adjacent regions.
Eivind Heldaas Seland is a researcher at the University of Bergen, and Associate professor of Global History (from January 2017). His research interest is in the interrelation of power, economy, and ideology in the Roman Period Near East and Indian Ocean, with emphasis on trade in the Red Sea and on the ancient city of Palmyra. Hakon Fiane Teigen is a Ph.D. student at the University of Bergen, whose current project centres on the social organisation of Manichaeism in late antique Egypt. His research interests include the transmission of ideas, the social mobilisation of ideology, and the history of Manichaeism, in particular in the areas of the Roman Empire and Sasanian Iran.