Cyrenaica 7: Renewal

Ananeosis, mosaic from Theodorias (Qasr Libya)

Ananeosis, mosaic from Theodorias (Qasr Libya)

When Synesius died in 413 AD, he feared that Cyrenaica would be conquered and completely destroyed by Laguatan nomads. “They have taken the land as if in a dragnet,” he wrote in his Catastasis. In Letter 73, he describes how the people in Cyrenaica felt abandoned by the central government. This may be a bit exaggerated, because Synesius also mentions effective military leaders. Still, it seems that the area was undergarrisoned. Other areas of the Empire were even more threatened and Constantinople needed the soldiers.

By the end of Synesius’ life, the nomads were in control. Cyrene had been abandoned and only the ports along the coast were still controlled by the Empire. Writing much later, Byzantine author Procopius described the situation in Cyrenaica as “neglected”.

[Read more on the blog of Ancient History Magazine]

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