JONES HALL, Linda,
Roman Berytus. Beirut in Late Antiquity.
Routledge, London / New York, 2004. XXIII,375p. Original black cloth with dust wrps. Nice copy. 'Hall sets her work against the long tradition of urban studies, and implicitly aspires to place it in line with the more recent trend of 'postcolonial scholarship'. H. points out that, by the end of the period under consideration (roughly Severus to Heraclius), 'native' languages - Syriac in particular - had experienced a resurgence, and were being used not only for ecclesiastical purposes, but as avenues of legal and literary expression, to rival both Greek and Latin (...). Although the meat of the author's work is contained in the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters, this reader was most captivated by the tenth and final chapter, on 'Artisans, Occupational Identity, and Social Status'. Working primarily from funerary inscriptions and other epigraphic material, H. is able to enumerate at least a few of the most important industreis and occupations in the Roman city, from fishing to textile production to the purple dye industry based on the murex shellfish (...). Given the relative lack of material pertaining specifically to Berytus in most periods, H. has made good use of other type of sources, e.g. Libanius, who frequently wrote letters of recommendation for aspiring students of law and rhetoric at Berytus. (...) The book has few weaknesses, and no glaring ones (...). None of this should be taken to diminish the overall value of this work, which will find its way into the collections of all serious students of the cities of the Roman East.' (STEVEN K. ROSS in The Journal of Roman Studies, 2006, pp.312-314). From the library of Professor Carl Deroux.