William Caraher deposited Church, Society, and the Sacred in Early Christian Greece in the group Byzantine Archaeology on Humanities Commons 5 years ago
This dissertation proposes a social analysis of the Early Christian basilicas (4th-6th century) of Southern and Central Greece, predominantly those in the Late Roman province of Achaia. After an introduction which places the dissertation in the broader context of the study of Late Antique Greece, the second chapter argues that church construction played an important role in the process of religions change in Late Antiquity. The third chapter examines Christian ritual, architecture, and cosmology to show that churches in Greece depended upon and reacted to existing phenomena that served to promote hierarchy and shape power structures in Late Roman society. Chapter four emphasizes social messages communicated through the motifs present in the numerous mosaic pavements which commonly adorned Early Christian buildings in Greece. The final chapter demonstrates that the epigraphy likewise presented massages that communicated social expectations drawn from both an elite and Christian discourse. Moreover they provide valuable information for the individuals who participated in the processes of church construction. After a brief conclusion, two catalogues present bibliographic citations for the inscriptions and architecture referred to in the text. The primary goal of this dissertation is to integrate the study of ritual, architecture, and social history and to demonstrate how Early Christian architecture played an important role in affecting social change during Late Antiquity.