In this paper the topic of the survival of pagan temples in the Christian era is analysed. Legislative texts in the Theodosian Code are compared with hagiographic and historical-literary sources. The analysis shows that the emperors adopted a cautious policy towards pagan temples and iconography, which was adapted to local situations. In the 4th century emperors were aware of the strong identity value of ancient monuments. Although they reiterated the repression of sacrifices, they engaged in a policy of defending the traditional architectural heritage and protecting classical buildings. They recognised the artistic value of monuments and justified the preservation of temples and images in the light of the popularity of the festivities associated with them. The imperial policy appears to be aimed at maintaining order and seeking the consent of the people and the still pagan elites. Therefore, the process towards the recognition of the artistic value of temples and simulacra, which are deprived of their religious value, does not proceed in a univocal and linear way. This emerges from the analysis of the laws of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code, which attempt to reconcile the survival of classical culture within the Christian empire.

Aedes inlicitis rebus vacuas … ne quis conetur evertere (CTh 16.10.18): i templi da edifici di culto a luoghi d’arte

Albana Mela
Primo
2021-01-01

Abstract

In this paper the topic of the survival of pagan temples in the Christian era is analysed. Legislative texts in the Theodosian Code are compared with hagiographic and historical-literary sources. The analysis shows that the emperors adopted a cautious policy towards pagan temples and iconography, which was adapted to local situations. In the 4th century emperors were aware of the strong identity value of ancient monuments. Although they reiterated the repression of sacrifices, they engaged in a policy of defending the traditional architectural heritage and protecting classical buildings. They recognised the artistic value of monuments and justified the preservation of temples and images in the light of the popularity of the festivities associated with them. The imperial policy appears to be aimed at maintaining order and seeking the consent of the people and the still pagan elites. Therefore, the process towards the recognition of the artistic value of temples and simulacra, which are deprived of their religious value, does not proceed in a univocal and linear way. This emerges from the analysis of the laws of the sixteenth book of the Theodosian Code, which attempt to reconcile the survival of classical culture within the Christian empire.
978-3-447-11728-9
978-3-447-39196-2
Temples, Simulacra, Spolia, Paganism, Christianity, Late Empire.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/515643
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