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  Beyond one-way determinism: San Frediano’s miracle and climate change in Central and Northern Italy in late antiquity

Zanchetta, G., Bini, M., Bloomfield, K., Izdebski, A., Vivoli, N., Regattieri, E., et al. (2021). Beyond one-way determinism: San Frediano’s miracle and climate change in Central and Northern Italy in late antiquity. Climatic Change, 165(1): 25. doi:10.1007/s10584-021-03043-x.

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docx, xlsx. - (last seen: April 2021)

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 Creators:
Zanchetta, Giovanni, Author
Bini, Monica, Author
Bloomfield, Kevin, Author
Izdebski, Adam1, Author              
Vivoli, Nicola, Author
Regattieri, Eleonora, Author
Isola, Ilaria, Author
Drysdale, Russell N., Author
Bajo, Petra, Author
Hellstrom, John C., Author
Wiśniewski, Robert, Author
Fallick, Anthony E., Author
Natali, Stefano, Author
Luppichini, Marco, Author
Affiliations:
1Palaeo-Science and History, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2600691              

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Free keywords: Precipitation, Roman Empire, Miracles, Social feedbacks, Cultural change
 Abstract: Integrating palaeoclimatological proxies and historical records, which is necessary to achieve a more complete understanding of climate impacts on past societies, is a challenging task, often leading to unsatisfactory and even contradictory conclusions. This has until recently been the case for Italy, the heart of the Roman Empire, during the transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In this paper, we present new high-resolution speleothem data from the Apuan Alps (Central Italy). The data document a period of very wet conditions in the sixth c. AD, probably related to synoptic atmospheric conditions similar to a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. For this century, there also exist a significant number of historical records of extreme hydroclimatic events, previously discarded as anecdotal. We show that this varied evidence reflects the increased frequency of floods and extreme rainfall events in Central and Northern Italy at the time. Moreover, we also show that these unusual hydroclimatic conditions overlapped with the increased presence of “water miracles” in Italian hagiographical accounts and social imagination. The miracles, performed by local Church leaders, strengthened the already growing authority of holy bishops and monks in Italian society during the crucial centuries that followed the “Fall of the Roman Empire”. Thus, the combination of natural and historical data allows us to show the degree to which the impact of climate variability on historical societies is determined not by the nature of the climatic phenomena per se, but by the culture and the structure of the society that experienced it.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-03-20
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 21
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: 1 Introduction: confronting miracles
1.1 Site description
2 Materials and methods
3 Results and discussion
3.1 The palaeoclimatic reconstruction: the natural, historical and geoarchaeological data
3.2 Connecting the natural and the social: hydroclimatic extremes and Christian miracles
4 Conclusions: from climatic determinism to hybrid cultural-natural networks
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03043-x
Other: shh2883
 Degree: -

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Title: Climatic Change
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 165 (1) Sequence Number: 25 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0165-0009
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925480588