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The brain functional correlates of autobiographical recall are well established, but have been little studied in schizophrenia. Additionally, autobiographical memory is one of a small number of cognitive tasks that activates rather than de-activates the default mode network, which has been found to be dysfunctional in this disorder.
Twenty-seven schizophrenic patients and 30 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while viewing cue words that evoked autobiographical memories. Control conditions included both non-memory-evoking cues and a low level baseline (cross fixation).
Compared to both non-memory evoking cues and low level baseline, autobiographical recall was associated with activation in default mode network regions in the controls including the medial frontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex and the hippocampus, as well as other areas. Clusters of de-activation were seen outside the default mode network. There were no activation differences between the schizophrenic patients and the controls, but the patients showed clusters of failure of de-activation in non-default mode network regions.
According to this study, patients with schizophrenia show intact activation of the default mode network and other regions associated with recall of autobiographical memories. The finding of failure of de-activation outside the network suggests that schizophrenia may be associated with a general difficulty in de-activation rather than dysfunction of the default mode network per se.
In the year 540, or shortly thereafter, as part of an on-going campaign to eradicate from the Byzantine Empire the final remnants of classical paganism, the Emperor Justinian ordered that the temple to Isis, at Philae in southern Egypt, be destroyed. According to Plutarch, among the many civilizing skills that mankind had been taught by Isis was that of how to cure disease. That the following year Egypt should have fallen victim to an outbreak of bubonic plague may have struck many adherents of the old gods as a sure sign of the folly of imperial policy. According to the contemporary historian Procopius, the plague first manifested itself at the entrepôt of Pelusium, before spreading to Alexandria, the rest of Egypt, and to Palestine. A harrowing account of the ravages of the plague within Egypt is preserved for us in the writings of John of Ephesus, who witnessed the effects of the disease while traveling to Constantinople via Palestine and Syria in the early 540s. John reports that “it was told about one city on the Egyptian border [that] it perished totally and completely with [only] seven men and one little boy ten years old remaining in it.” By the spring of 542, the disease had reached the imperial capital of Constantinople, where it was believed to have laid low the emperor himself. That same year the plague reached Antioch, Illyricum, Africa, and Spain.
This study opened with two objectives. The first was to attempt to build up a social and economic context in which to situate the reign of the Emperor Justinian; the second was to consider the implications of the empire's pattern of social and economic development under Justinian for its subsequent post-Justinianic history.
Justinian's reform programme, as we have seen, effectively sought to stem the tide of over two centuries of social development within the Eastern Empire. The political and administrative reforms by which the Roman Empire had overcome the military and economic crises of the third century had, in the fourth, catalysed a dynamic process of elite formation across the Mediterranean world as a whole. By virtue of this process, a new imperial aristocracy of service had come to dominate provincial landed society. In many ways, members of this new elite helped to bind the empire together, providing a nexus and point of contact between the world of the court and the world of the provinces. At the same time, the highly monetised bipartite great estates from which its members typically derived much of their private income bolstered and sustained economic growth. But at a more insidious level, the consolidation of this new elite's social and economic preponderance threatened to undermine the basis of empire, for members of the aristocracy of service were uniquely placed, by virtue of their social authority and the political positions that they held, to engage in acts of large-scale tax evasion and thereby to interrupt and diminish the flow of tax revenues on which the structures of the Roman state and, above all, the Roman army depended.
In the year 565, in the imperial capital of Constantinople, the Emperor Justinian died, bringing to a close a reign that had lasted some forty-eight years. In death, as in life, Justinian left a deep impression on those around him. The Latin court poet Corippus declared that ‘the awesome death of the man showed by clear signs that he had conquered the world. He alone, amidst universal lamentations, seemed to rejoice in his pious countenance.’ The memory of Justinian was to loom large in the minds of subsequent generations of emperors, just as the physical monuments built in Constantinople during his reign were long to dominate the medieval city. The emperor had reformed the civil law of the empire, overhauled its administrative structures, and restored imperial rule to Africa, Italy, and part of Spain; he had engaged in long drawn-out warfare with the prestige enemy of Sasanian Persia and attempted to restore peace to the increasingly fissile imperial Church. In short, through his military exertions, Justinian had done much to restore the Roman Empire to a position of military and ideological dominance in the lands bordering the central and western Mediterranean, whilst at home he had sought to bolster the legal, administrative, and religious authority of the imperial office.
This attempted restoration of imperial fortunes had been accompanied by a concerted effort to propagandise on behalf of the emperor and his policies.
This work is meant as a short contribution to the study of the political economy of the Eastern Roman Empire in the age of the Emperor Justinian, one of the most extraordinary yet enigmatic rulers to have reigned in Byzantine Constantinople. For reasons that will be explained in the Introduction, however, much of it is concerned with the history of late Roman Egypt. The modern historiography of Egypt from the fourth to the seventh centuries ad is an important topic, which, for reasons of argumentative structure, will not be addressed in detail until chapter eight. It is perhaps worth signalling at the outset, however, for the benefit of those familiar with the topic, where my approach and conclusions stand in relation to the broader field. First, I am largely in agreement with Banaji in regarding the great estates of late Roman Egypt as highly commercialised, monetised, and sophisticated economic enterprises, although I place more emphasis than he does on the role played by coercion in the expansion and maintenance of these estates. I am also unconvinced by readings of the sources that present these great estates as ‘semi-public institutions’, or that are inclined to emphasise co-operative, symbiotic relations between the owners of these estates and the imperial authorities. For most of the period in question, the state only accommodated the interests of great landowners because it had to, and it invariably emerged weaker as a result.
In chapter nine we have seen that the nature of relations between the owners of great estates and their workforce, as recorded in the laws and the papyri, was shaped primarily by private economic and contractual arrangements that developed autonomously at the grassroots of provincial society. The imperial authorities ultimately accommodated themselves to these arrangements, seeking to regulate them through legislation on coloni and autopragia, just as practices negotiated between aristocratic households and civic curiae were institutionalised from the fifth century through the emergence of the offices of pagarch and vindex. Similarly, the socially highly significant relationship between magnate households and bodies of armed retainers resulted from illicit, private arrangements, which emperors may have been obliged at times effectively to ignore, but against which they repeatedly legislated. These accommodations of the fourth to sixth centuries identify the period as having witnessed a major restructuring of agrarian social relations, one that resulted in the emergence of great estates throughout the Eastern Empire. But the process by which these estates expanded and developed invites more detailed examination.
THE ORIGINS OF THE EGYPTIAN GREAT ESTATE
As in all class-based societies, life in Roman Egypt had always been characterised by certain disparities of wealth, and, as we have seen, as early as the mid third century, the so-called ‘Heroninos archive’, along with related dossiers, reveals the existence of a number of directly managed large estates.
The question of the nature of the relationship between the great estates and the imperial authorities is central to any understanding of the political economy of the East Roman Empire in the sixth century. As seen in the Introduction, our contemporary legal sources, such as the constitutions issued by the Emperor Justinian, give the impression of a conflictual relationship, whereby public authority was being progressively undermined by the private economic and social influence of aristocratic landowners. The same conflictual model is in turn reflected back at the imperial government through the critiques of Procopius, John Lydus, and other sixth-century authors of an essentially conservative frame of mind. In recent years, however, historians have become increasingly inclined to emphasise co-operation between public and private authority, aristocrat and emperor. At its most extreme, this tendency has led some to argue that the great estates of late antiquity were essentially the product of imperial fiat. They were the outcome of a deliberate policy whereby landowners were burdened with heavy duties and responsibilities, such as the collection of taxes or the maintenance of imperial troops, which may not necessarily have even served their interests. They were, as Gascou has put it, ‘public law institutions’ or ‘a development of the public economy’. As in so many other areas of history, concentration has shifted from diachronic analysis emphasising conflict to synchronic analysis emphasising stability.
But how useful has this change of emphasis been? To what extent is revisionism itself now in need of revision?
ESTATE STRUCTURE AND THE CONDITION AND ORGANISATION OF LABOUR
The contractual papyri and estate accounts enable us to delineate the economic structure of the Apion family's Oxyrhynchite landholdings in the sixth century and the terms on which certain at least of the household's workers and administrators were employed. It is through the epistolary papyri and petitions that survive from the archive, however, that we gain our most vivid insights into the reality of life on the Apion estates. This is particularly the case as regards the condition and organisation of labour. The estate accounts and contractual papyri, for example, can be seen to convey some sense of the highly insecure position of the Apion georgoi with respect to the lands of the ktemata that they rented from the household. But nothing illustrates the full extent of this insecurity more eloquently than P.Oxy. XVI 1941, a letter dating from the fifth or sixth century and written to a georgos by the name of Praous, resident on the epoikion of Adaeus. The letter is written by Serenus, who was probably either a pronoetes or the phrontistes in charge of production on Praous' settlement. Praous is curtly ordered to leave the irrigated plot that had been assigned to him (ἀποστῆναι τῆς γεωργίας μηχανῆς) so that it could be given ‘to another georgos for lease’ (ἑτέρῳ γεωργῷ ἐπὶ μισθώσει).
Quite why Praous was dismissed from his tenancy is not clear. Perhaps he had fallen into arrears with his rent.
THE ESTATE ACCOUNTS: DEFINITION AND NATURE OF THE DOCUMENTS
By far the most informative of the documents found amongst the Apion papyri are the general estate accounts, or, as the documents most often describe themselves, ‘accounts of receipts and of items of expenditure’. Certain of these survive papyrologically in a relatively undamaged form, of which four have been published. Many more documents exist which represent either fragments of such accounts, or accounts relating to the collection and disbursement of a single product, such as wine produced on the family estates. It is from the first body, the relatively undamaged sets of general accounts, that we may derive a concrete sense of the overall structure of the Apion estates in the vicinity of Oxyrhynchus. Between them, the published general accounts describe life on different parts of the Apion family's landholdings over some thirty-four years, from c. 556 to 590.
Given the length of time over which these documents were drafted, the Apion general statements of account conform to a strikingly uniform pattern. All four documents represent annual accounts for primarily rural properties drafted by individuals bearing the title of pronoetes (προνοητής). In three out of the four cases, the accounts are structured around settlements described as epoikia (ἐποίκια), although, as will be seen shortly, P.Oxy. XVIII 2195 differs somewhat in this respect. Each set of accounts typically covers six or seven such localities.
Although the Apion estate accounts reveal in broad outline the economic structure of the family's Oxyrhynchite landholdings in the sixth century, they shed relatively little light on the precise terms on which the estate's labourers, supervisors, and managers were actually employed. For this aspect of the life on the Apion estates, we must turn to the testimony of the contractual papyri.
The major contractual components of the archive may be divided into three. First and foremost in terms of the light they shed on the management of the estates are the homologiai (ὁμολογιαί), which generally consist of contracts of employment. In many respects, the homologiai bear close resemblance to the contracts of surety, the enguai (ἐγγύαι), which constitute our second type, and which describe in greatest detail the terms on which the mainstay of the agricultural workforce was retained in the service of the household. Third are the cheirographiai (χειρογραφίαι), contracts acknowledging the receipt of items issued by the Apion estate to its employees and dependants. This third category shares certain affinities with other documents found within the archive of relatively minor significance to our understanding of the workings of the household. As such, these documents (styled apodeixeis/ἀπόδειξεις), along with documents of receipt termed idiocheira (ἰδιόχειρα) and grammateia (γραμμάτεια), are not examined here, although their existence should be noted.
To the established families of Tripoli, the main city of north Lebanon and urban centre for Akkar, ‘the mountain’ is the epitome of unregenerate ‘tribalism’ and savage ‘backwardness’. The warrior figures of the Jurd with their upturned moustaches, rifles and bandoliers seem the very type of archaic traditionalism. They represent the polar opposite of city values and are the subject of a certain mocking humour. But to the people of the foothills and plain, the Jurd signifies something more precise, and more immediate: clanship, autonomous self-help, heavily armed men, forces to be feared and not easily restrained. Men of the higher villages sometimes ‘come down’ on the lower settlements in a raid or in furtherance of some political dispute. Most seriously, they can cut the water supply to the lower settlements. The state gives little protection against these mountain communities who live very different lives from the small cultivators and labourers. Only powerful lords such as the Minister can ensure that relations with the Jurd remain relatively stable.
As seen in chapter five, the documentary papyri record the existence in fifth- and sixth-century Egypt of highly monetised and, by implication, highly commodified bipartite great estates owned by members of the late antique aristocracy of service. These estates were worked by agricultural workers, often resident on estate-owned settlements styled epoikia or choria, who split their time between allotments associated with these holdings (ktemata) and the centrally administered estate ‘in hand’ or demesne (the autourgia).