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Felege-Selam Yirga

Assistant Professor


I am a historian of the Late Antique/Early Medieval Near East and Red Sea regions.  I am particularly interested in the study of early Byzantine historiography, and how people who did not live under the Roman empire (particularly post-Roman Copts, Syrians, and medieval/early modern Ethiopians)  remembered it and used its memory to forge their own religious and political identities. I conduct my research through the study of the transmission and reuse of historical and hagiographic texts from Greek into Classical Ethiopic (Gə’əz), Coptic, and Syriac.

I am currently working on my first monograph, which is an expansion of my dissertation, The Chronicle of John of Nikiu: Historical Writing in Post-Roman Egypt. This yet unnamed project will examine how the first generation of people who lived in lands that had formerly been under the dominion of Rome (whom I have dubbed post-Romans) remembered the Roman empire, and how their reactions to the sudden withdrawal of the Roman state affected the expression of their social and cultural identity.

Research Interests

Identity and Memory in Late Antiquity; Early Byzantine Historiography, Medieval and Early Modern Ethiopian History.

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