Attaleia: The Busy, Bustling Fringe
This chapter sets the stage for the discussion of Attaleiates’ youth in Romanía’s provinces. Given the nature of our sources, the focus remains on the experience itself of life in Attaleia, rather than on specific details from Attaleiates’ childhood. Here the reader encounters a narrative exploration of life in a major Byzantine provincial urban center. Looking at life in this Byzantine city affords us an opportunity to introduce a number of important themes, from the place of the “military-economic” complex in local affairs, the impact on government on the ruled, and the interplay between local identity and Romanness. Attaleia emerges here as a city-state whose population is deeply entangled in Byzantium’s Roman life through its participation in the defense of the realm.