I’ve been invited to participate in the Institute for European and Monumental Archaeology’s Fifth Visiting Scholars Conference in May. Its theme is Approaching Monumentality in the Archaeological Record.
My tentative paper title is “Patronage and Reception in the Monumental Architecture of Early Christian Greece”.
Here’s a rough abstract:
The late 5th and 6th century AD saw a massive investment in Early Christian architecture throughout Greece. While these buildings are almost completely absent from the textual record of this time, there is nevertheless sufficient archaeological evidence to argue that this architecture adopted aspects of domestic and public buildings, absorbed significant resources from the community, and helped to fortify the position of a new, imperially-backed, ecclesiastical elite. In effect, Early Christian architecture in Greece presented a new medium for the articulation of social, religious, and economic power. To do this, basilica style Christian churches both cooped the traditional forms of “monumental” ancient architecture, while at the same time, subverting and transforming the expectation of this medium. The nature and novelty of Early Christian architecture in Greece represents an intriguing way both to understand the social transformations associated with the so-called end of antiquity and to critique monumental architecture more broadly.