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Title: Space, monuments, and religion : the Christianisation of urban space in the Late Antique Levant
Author: Dirodi, Morgan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 5534
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the relationship between Christianity and urban monumental space in the late antique Levant. Through the analysis of both textual and archaeological evidence it seeks to clarify both the motives and the stages of the process of Christian takeover of the urban space of Levantine cities from the 4th to the 7th century AD. In doing so Christians were in essence both projecting their growth as the predominant religion and, at the same time, creating an entirely new monumental landscape. The case studies are presented in three separate groups, selected on the basis of the principal strategy that was chosen in the process of Christianisation of urban space. The first section analyses the cases of Gerasa, Jerusalem, Heliopolis, and Petra to illustrate the first of these strategies: the main method for occupying the symbolic space of the city was the construction of a contrast between the surviving ruins of the earlier, Hellenic, temples and the new Christian churches. The second group of case studies includes Scythopolis, Caesarea Maritima, Gaza, and to a certain extent Heliopolis. This section deals with those cities where the main strategy was the physical demolition of all or at least the most pre-eminent Hellenic buildings and their direct replacement with a new, and often grand, church. The third group, and the last, consists of the cities of Bostra, Gadara, Apamea, where rather than having to engage with a major Hellenic monument the main competitor was the secular state whether local or imperial. This is found to have resulted in a search for integration into the landscape rather than active competition.
Supervisor: Ward-Perkins, Bryan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Church history--Primitive and early church ; ca. 30-600 ; Byzantine Empire--Civilization--527-1081 ; Urbanization--Byzantine Empire--History ; Church buildings--Byzantine Empire ; Space--Religious aspects ; Byzantine Empire--Religious life and customs ; Byzantine Empire--Social conditions