Limes Congress XXV (Nijmegen, Netherlands, 22-28 August 2021)

Session 20 – Basilicas and Churches in Military Outposts

Chairs: Dominic Moreau (Lille) and Ivan Gargano (Lille and Rome)

Abstract:

In the absence of ancient texts describing the details of the process of Christianisation in the frontier regions of the Roman Empire, it is often very difficult to understand some of the archaeological finds in that matter. Among them, we can mention the Christian basilicas and other churches built in direct links with medium to small military outposts. This session will analyse, both in archaeological and historical points of view, the Christian buildings of worship found near or inside the documented forts located on the edges of the Empire. The focus will thus be on peripheral military site. The goal is to document the topographical evolution of the spiritual life of the Roman garrisons between the fourth and the seventh century, by trying to identify the characteristics of what can call a “border Christianity”, together with the changes of the military space possibly caused by its development. The study of religious architecture in these sites is, without a doubt, the most concrete means of achieving these objectives, because data such as a more-or-less marked monumentality, the position with regard to the fort, the chronology of construction or the type of materials used can offer many factors for a deep reflection on the issue, as well as helping to understand the extent and identity of border communities linked to the military context.

Website of the congress: limes2021.org


26th EAA Annual Meeting (Budapest, Hungary, 26-30 August 2020) – transformed into a virtual meeting

Session 357 – Christianity at the Frontiers

Chairs: Dominic Moreau (Lille) and Radu Petcu (Lille and Constanța)

Abstract:

There is an old myth, still recounted in some of the historiography on Late Antiquity, according to which the Roman army was somewhat involved in the spread of Christianity, usually shortly after the conversion of Constantine. Proponents of that position generally rely on two points:  1- the testimony of the Church Fathers, who are constantly insisting on the receptivity of the soldiers to Christianity; 2- the fact that the Roman army promoted the spread of all kinds of oriental cults, which also implies Christianity. By this logic, we should be able to observe a degree of Christianisation in the provinces of the Empire which would be proportional to their level of militarisation. The “limes” being theoretically the most militarised area in Late Antiquity, it should then be the most Christianised. Should we therefore see evidence of the military outposts as units of Christian propaganda around the Empire? It is true that most of the episcopal sees of this part of the Roman world were founded in military camps. Compared to the importance of the militarisation of these territories, the episcopal network was, however, very modest even up to the middle/end of the 6th century, so that the contribution of the army to the spread of Christianity does not seem as obvious is sometimes assumed. In order to propose elements of answers to that research question, presentations on all archaeological of Christianity on the border areas of the Roman Empire are welcome in this session. These papers can focus on new discoveries, as well as on the re-evaluation of material already studied, which dates, for most of it, from the 4th to 7th centuries AD. This session is the second part of a first one on the same topic, organised in September 2019, at the 24. International Limes Congress (Belgrade/Viminacium, Serbia).

Website of the Budapest congress (cancelled): www.e-a-a.org/eaa2020

Website of the virtual meeting: www.e-a-a.org/EAA2020virtual


Roman Archaeology Conference 2020 (Split, Croatia, 16-18 April 2020) – postponed in April 2021

Session – From the Roman to the Late Antique Balkans: Changes in the Topography, Form and Function of “Illyrian” and “Thracian” Cities between East and West

Chairs: Dominic Moreau (Lille) and Christophe J. Goddard (Paris)

Abstract:

The founding works of A.H.M. Jones, C. Lepelley and J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz on cities in Late Antiquity have shown that their so-called decline and fall, defended by Fustel de Coulanges, were rather corresponding to profound changes in terms of topography, forms and functions, than to an actual disappearance. It is undeniable that the Roman classical model one day ceased to be, but it was not by leaving room for nothingness. There was indeed a lively world of Late Antique and Early Medieval cities. The last centuries of Antiquity even saw the foundation of new cities, some of them having never been anything but Christian cities. Given the magnitude of the impact of the great invasions/migrations in this region, the three dioceses of Illyricum, Dacia and Thrace were among those, in the Late Roman World, which saw their civic system most shaken by wars and population movements between the third and the eighth centuries. This session proposes to re-evaluate and to illustrate this historical issue in the light of archaeological discoveries of an overlooked region, especially with regard to the spread of Christinianity, by taking a look at the provinces that covered, in Late Roman times, the northern part of the Balkans.

Website of the congress: www.romansocietyrac.ac.uk


 24. International Limes Congress (Belgrade / Viminacium, Serbia, 2-9 September 2018)

Thematic session – Christianity at the Frontiers

Chairs: Dominic Moreau (Lille) and Orsolya Heinrich-Tamáska (Leipzig)

Abstract:

There is an old myth, still recounted in some of the historiography on Late Antiquity, according to which the Roman army was directly or indirectly involved in the spread of Christianity, usually shortly after the conversion of Constantine. Proponents of that position generally rely on two points: 1- the testimony of the Church Fathers, who are constantly insisting on the receptivity of the soldiers to Christianity, at least from the time of Tertullian; 2- the fact that the Roman army promoted the spread of all kinds of oriental cults, which also implies Christianity. By this logic, we should be able to observe a degree of Christianisation in the provinces of the Empire which would be proportional to their level of militarisation, at least after Constantine. The “limes” being theoretically the most militarised area in Late Antiquity, it should then be the most Christianised. Should we therefore see evidence of the military outposts as units of Christian propaganda around the Empire? Does the highly militarised “limes” constitute a “weapon of mass conversion”? It is true that most of the episcopal sees of this part of the Roman world were founded in military camps. Compared to the importance of the militarisation of these territories, the episcopal network was, however, very modest even up to the middle/end of the 6th century, so that the contribution of the army to the spread of Christianity does not seem as obvious is sometimes assumed. In order to propose elements of answers to that research question, presentations on all archaeological and historical aspects of Christianity on the border areas of the Roman Empire are welcome in this session. These papers can focus on new discoveries, as well as on the re-evaluation of material already studied, which dates, for most of it, from the 4th to 7th centuries AD. Among the themes that would be interesting to be discussed, we can mention (but not exclusively):

* Churches and artifacts with Christian meanings on the frontier and its hinterland
* Episcopacy and its impact on the urban fabric
* Monasticism and its occupation of the landscape
* Christian testimonies in the army
* Christianity beyond the borders of the Empire

Website of the congress: limes2018.org


17th International Congress of Christian Archaeology (Utrecht / Nijmegen, Netherlands, 2-6 July 2018)

Session – Balkan I

Chair: Dominic Moreau (Lille)

Website of the congress: ciac.sites.uu.nl


23rd International Congress of Byzantine Studies (Belgrade, Serbia, 22-27 August 2016)

Thematic session of free communications – Byzantine Archeology

Chairs: Dominic Moreau (Lille) et Mihailo Milinković (Belgrade)

Website of the congress (now inactive) : www.byz2016.rs

Dedicated page on the website of the Institute of Byzantine Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts: www.byzinst-sasa.rs/eng/congress