Climate and Geography
Chapter 1 provides the geographical and climatic setting. In addition to providing a description of the area of interest (the diocese of Oriens, a grouping of provinces that extended from southeastern Turkey through northern Mesopotamia, Cyprus and south to the Red Sea), This chapter addresses the question of climatic change that has come to be of increasing interest and has obvious implications for agricultural production. The chapter concludes that the climate of the area in the 4th through 7th centuries was similar to that of today, but slightly damper in the early portion of late antiquity and becoming increasingly drier. Following this overview, The chapter explores the issue of settlement, including a discussion of settlement density and argue for a settlement peak during the 4th through 6th centuries that was unsurpassed until the 20th century.
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