Désigner et concevoir les nouvelles frontières en Gaule et en Italie aux Ve et VIe siècles

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Hervé Huntzinger


Different interpretations of the frontier and its evolution between the classical period and the Middle Ages have been proposed. By reviewing the terms designating frontiers by Gallic and Italian authors of the 5th and 6th centuries, this paper arrives to the conclusion that the general terms (fines, confinia, limes) as well as the vocabulary of boundaries (terminus, meta or referring to the rivers) tell us very little about the material or institutional realities of the frontier. After giving up the idea of linear borders, it is necessary to take into account cities, roads and the importance of barriers to control the territory, in order, in the end, to state that late-antique frontiers did not enclose spaces but networks.

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