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Landscapes of Power

Selected Papers from the XV Oxford University Byzantine Society International Graduate Conference


Edited By Maximilian Lau, Caterina Franchi and Morgan Di Rodi

This volume contains selected papers from the XV International Graduate Conference, highlighting the latest scholarship from a new generation of Late Antique and Byzantine scholars from around the world. The theme of the conference explored the interaction between power and the natural and human environments of Byzantium, an interaction that is an essential part of the empire’s legacy. This legacy has come down to us through buildings, literature, history and more, and has proved enduring enough to intrigue and fascinate scholars centuries after the fall of Constantinople. From religion and trade at the end of Antiquity, imperial propaganda and diplomacy at the end of the first millennium, to culture and conquest under the Komnenian and Palaeologan dynasties – this volume demonstrates the length and breadth of the forays being made by young academics into the still often undiscovered country of the Late Antique and Byzantine world.
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Christ and the City: Bishops, Churches and Temples in the Late Antique Levant


In the course of my article I intend to explore if and how the Christianisation of urban space was driven by Episcopal policy. In particular, I will seek to test the paradigm of Episcopal initiative: was the rise of the bishop as a key player in late antique society and administration matched by an increased freedom of action to intervene in the landscape and was he the main driver in this process whose existence is undeniable and whose results can be seen from the 6th and 7th centuries onward. Thus the fil rouge of my work will be an attempt to explore not the rise of the bishop as a figure, but rather whether this rise was matched by an equal rise in his power and freedom of action not within the city and the Empire but on the city. I also will inevitably have to touch on the issue of Hellenic resistance to the process of Christianisation, which will form a key part of my discussion and serve as an ideal counterweight to the process of Christianisation.1

The rise of bishops has been amply discussed by many authors, most recently by Wolf Liebeschuetz and Claudia Rapp both of whom follow a similar path in tracking their institutional rise, status in law drawing on descriptions of his role and position in the lives of saints and sainted bishops.2 The institutional approach, while providing us with a clear and concise ← 55 | 56 → narrative does have the flaw...

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