Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Ritual landscapes in the cities of Late Roman Gaul
Author: Barber, D. C.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2002
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Our picture of urban transformation in late antiquity is inevitable coloured by the fact that it took place against the backdrop of the political decline of Rome. Many of the features that characterise the classic image of the ancient city, civic monuments for example, enjoyed a close relationship with the political and social institutions of the empire. The disruption and eventual disappearance of this political order had an inevitable impact upon the topography of cities. The abandonment and decay of ancient monuments is one of the most striking phenomena in late antiquity, especially in Gaul where it is seen particularly clearly. However this is only one part of a much larger and more significant story that resulted in cities surviving the collapse of the political system that had, for the vastest number of urban centres, been responsible for their creation and their development. In this thesis, it is argued that the physical transformation of cities disguises real continuity in terms of the function that they served in both Roman and Medieval society. This is based upon a definition of the city that focuses on its role in establishing corporate identities, which in both pagan and Christian societies were most often and most clearly established in religious activity. In this sense the city can be seen as a ritual landscape, and the emergence of Christianity is, therefore, central to the discussion that follows. A change in the ideological orientation of the empire had an inevitable effect upon the appearance of cities, they were preserved as centres where social and ecclesiastical structures converged. However, this transformation did not intrude into the fundamental character or function of the city. It retained its place within a broader human landscape and continued to play a role in defining identities in a way that strongly recalls its function in the ancient world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available