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Title: The Bishop, his House, and his Church - Early Medieval Episcopal Complexes in Italia Annonaria (300-600 CE)
Authors: Sturm, Jaqueline Petra
Advisors: Barber, Charles E.
Zchomelidse, Nino
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Bishop
Episcopal Complex
Subjects: Art history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the development of episcopal complexes, or insulae episcopalis, in the Roman diocese of Italia annonaria vis-à-vis the rise of the Early Christian bishop from 300 to 600 CE. The study traces the historical circumstances that were responsible for the bishop’s emergence as the new leading figure of late antique and early medieval society and contextualizes the modes of representation employed by the bishop to make manifest his episcopal authority. Two bishoprics are of particular relevance to this study, Poreč and Ravenna, as they offer ample archeological, architectural, and literary evidence for the depiction of episcopal auctoritas. The study of apsed halls (aulae), dining spaces (triclinia), and baths (balneae) reveals that the bishops made use of well-established and widely understood modes for highlighting the social status of a donor/founder by incorporating imperial architectural vocabulary into their bishoprics. The emerging trend of an ‘imperialization’ of the Early Christian bishop, as argued in this dissertation, finds support in the employment of script, be it in the form of monumental inscriptions or abbreviated monograms. The use of precious materials, such as costly marbles, gold and mother-of-pearl, for decorating the episcopal complexes further augmented the social standing of the bishop in early medieval society. Ultimately, this research shows that the Early Christian bishops fully understood the symbolism of authority and were able to use it to their advantage in the context of their own episcopal sees in order to strengthen their position in both the ecclesiastic and the civic spheres.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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