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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 1209: Secular and Religious Transformations from Late Antiquity into the Early Middle Ages

Wednesday 5 July 2023, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Diane J. Reilly, Hope School of Fine Art, Indiana University, Bloomington
Paper 1209-aImperial Public Performance and the Christianisation of Rome, c. 300-c. 663
(Language: English)
Jacob Latham, Department of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Index terms: Local History, Religious Life
Paper 1209-bThe Transformation of Sports Structures from Late Antiquity into the Byzantine Middle Ages in Asia Minor
(Language: English)
Ufuk Serin, Department of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, Ankara
Başak Kalfa-Ataklı, Department of Architecture, Çankaya University, Ankara
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Byzantine Studies
Paper 1209-cFrom Ephesus to Antioch: Early Baptism and Naming Practices in Asia Minor
(Language: English)
Zoe Tsiami, Department of History, Archaeology & Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly, Volos
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Religious Life

Paper -a:
The Christianisation of the city of Rome was not simply a matter of accumulating countables (churches, clergymen, converts) - it also entailed the re-construction of the public sphere through the public performance of social identity (of self). For example, imperial public performance had to be pitched to meet general expectations as the emperor could not assume any specific audience but rather needed to envision an audience of everyone out in the streets and squares. Changes in imperial public performance thus index a changing sense of what was appropriate for an emperor (or a king). Strikingly imperial public performance remained remarkably static. It changed little from the triumphant arrival, consular celebrations, and other ceremonies until the end of the 4th century when emperors began attending church (though with no evidence of the accompanying ceremonial), carrying, at least on occasion, a cruciform scepter, and being buried at St Peter's. Even so, traditional practices of largesse, accession, the execution of justice, and deposition-death-departure, were unaltered suggesting that traditional expectations still shaped the public sphere through the end of the 5th century when the last western emperors made Rome their home.

Paper -b:
The question of continuity, or discontinuity, with the Classical past from Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages has long been debated in terms of architecture and urbanism. The majority of building types and functions of Classical antiquity (e.g. public buildings, temples, baths, theatres) has commonly been subjects of literary and archaeological investigation, while little emphasis was placed on the transformation of buildings related to athletics. This paper aims to explore the afterlives and survival of sports structures (stadia, gymnasia, palaestrae) in Asia Minor from Late Antiquity into the Byzantine Middle Ages within the general context of urban landscapes of change.

Paper -c:
Nowadays it is common to experience, mainly as an infant, a christening along with a naming ceremony or a combination of these two through Christian baptism. Naming and baptism have been a bold bond since antiquity: even in the Old Testament times, we meet naming practices and a religious confession to the one and only God. In this paper, I shall try to detect this bond (Christian baptism, name-giving, and religious confession) in early Christian worship and place it in some provinces of Asia Minor, where it was conducted. More specifically, it will be argued that Christian baptism was a seal that marked a new spiritual life, that one had to conquer it via a certain Christian (or former pagan?) ritual, as well as that a certain name choice, would make the difference in the new, Christian body and soul. In Asia Minor, baptism and name-giving would bring major power to the local church and create a network that would unite and make Christianity bold across the provinces.