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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Anna Leone

Leone, A. & Sarantis, A. (2020). The Middle Euphrates and its Transformation from the 3rd to the 7th c.: The case of Dibsi Faraj. Journal of Late Antiquity 13(2): 308-351.

Author(s) from Durham


Dibsi Faraj is a fortified citadel situated on the middle reaches of the Euphrates River in modern Syria which was occupied until the ninth century, when it was abandoned and then reoccupied in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This article examines the series of fortification works, churches, and bathing complexes that were erected at Dibsi Faraj during the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. The wider political and religious contexts for these works include the wars fought between the eastern Roman and Sassanid Persian empires and their Ghassanid and Lakhmid allies, as well as the growing fame and popularity of the shrine of Saint Sergius at Resafa. Among the most interesting finds are fragments of the Anastasian military inscription, known also from sites in Palestine, which confirms the presence at Dibsi Faraj of a military garrison, probably comprising limitanei troops, in the early sixth century. Continued activity at the site across the seventh century reinforces the argument that the last eastern Roman-Sassanid war and early Islamic conquests did not profoundly damage the society and economy of northern Oriens.