Orietta D. Cordovana


Associate Professor, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark and University of Edinburgh, UK.

During her AIAS-COFUND Senior Fellowship, Orietta Cordovana has been working on the project "Ancient Ecosystems. The Roman Frontier in Britain and North Africa".

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

Project description

This research focuses on the Roman frontier in Britannia and Africa Proconsularis as a mosaic of lands of different legal statuses under the rule of the first European/Mediterranean territorial state. The concept of ‘ecosystem’ is meant in a broader sense than is common, especially in the natural sciences. Though the usage includes the scientific sense, it also encompasses socio-economic and political factors, i.e. ‘socio-ecosystems’. By this, it involves all aspects of human interaction with a specific natural habitat, especially its socio-economic and cultural manipulation and transformation, and above all from a historical perspective. Going beyond the notion of ‘linear’ frontiers as political borders and ‘buffer zones’, the project will analyse the socio-economic, political, and cultural elements which characterise the inter-relations between human beings, environment, and political power in the frontier ecosystem of the above-mentioned provinces as case-studies of the impact and mechanisms of Roman imperialism. In both cases, the frontier areas and their hinterlands will be analysed with specific focus on the legal status of lands and their ecosystems in economic and social terms. The study will encompass the Roman use of land, exploitation of natural resources, dynamics of demography and migration-flows, the provincial road network, and the role of the fleet and its supply system. The main aim is to overcome traditional conceptualisations of the Roman frontier, especially the idea of the linear political border and the view of the ancient frontier as a buffer zone.