The Organization of Diversity in the Ecclesiastical Space of Antiquity

Public space, such as temples, forums, and village squares, played a vital role in ancient civilizations, and mirrored the structures of social and political organization. Within this context, the early history of the expansion of Christianity can be described as the "Christianization of public space". Thus, the new religion Christianity competed successfully with older cults and other forms of organization of the public sphere. Ancient Christianity organized itself according to the existing religious and civil forms of organization and adapted to the regional or national structures. The main goal of our undertaking is to research the means, i.e. the theories, attitudes, rituals, and buildings, with which Christianity claimed public space so it could emerge successfully from the competition with other religions. Additionally, we will study the importance of the various regional cultural and administrative contexts in the development of Christianity.
Some of the main questions that our research will pursue are: What mechanisms did Christianity develop to reorganise public space as Christian space? What strategies where used to represent Christianity in public space? We will focus on the governmental concepts of organization, such as festival calendars and rituals, market regulations and statutes of association, construction planning for public space, boundaries at various levels, and other legal and administrative organizational structures on which Christianity could build in order to expand. In particular, we are concerned with studying the relationship between the evolving regional identities and the nationwide effort for unity as well as the competition between different movements of Christianity (such as Montanism and Manichaeism) and pagan culture in public space. Additionally, we will pay special attention to questions of legal history.
Geographically our research focuses on the Roman provinces of Pannonia superior and inferior, Dalmatia, Phrygia, Hispania as well as the city of Antioch.

Principal Investigators
Markschies, Christoph Prof. Dr. Dres. h. c. (Details) (Cluster Topoi - The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Anvient Civilization)

Duration of Project
Start date: 11/2007
End date: 10/2012

H. Hildebrandt, Vom Mehrwert eines Apostelschülers - Vorstellungen des frühen Christentums in Salona, in: Das Altertum 53, 2008, 208-222; T. Lehmann, Die ältesten erhaltenen Bilder in einem Kirchenbau. Zu den frühchristlichen Kirchenbauten und ihren Mosaiken unter dem Dom von Aquileia, in: Das Altertum 54, 2009, 91-122; T. Lehmann, Aquileia. Le prime basiliche e i loro mosaici (Akten der Aquileia-Tagung 2009 s.u., in Druck; C. Markschies, Il concilio del 381 a Aquileia (Akten der Aquileia-Tagung 2009 in Druck).

Last updated on 2020-14-03 at 23:15