Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West: Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough

Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West: Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough

Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West: Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough

Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West: Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough

Synopsis

This illustrated book is a coherently conceived collection of interdisciplinary essays by distinguished authors on the city of Rome and its contacts with western Christendom in the early Middle Ages (c. 500-1000 AD). The first part integrates historical, archaeological, numismatic and art historical approaches to studying the transition of the city of Rome from Antiquity to the Middle Ages and offers groundbreaking new analyses of selected sites and problems. Attention is given to the economic, social, religious and cultural history of the city. In the second part of the volume historical, archaeological, liturgical and palaeographical approaches address Romes contacts and influence in Latin Christendom in this period, with particular regard to Romes place within Italian politics and its cultural influence in Carolingian Francia and Anglo-Saxon England.

Excerpt

Frances Andrews

The early medieval city of Rome stood surrounded by a circuit of walls eighteen kilometres long, built in the late third century to enclose the thronging city at the heart of empire. By the ninth century, the population within these walls was focused in a series of distinct village-like settlements in a quasi-rural landscape of vines, fields and subsiding monuments of the classical past. Yet Rome remained the largest urban centre in the west and continued to attract the interest and sporadic intervention of outsiders. Over the same period it acquired a new identity as the papal city, the focal point of Latin Christendom, its saints and martyrs a source of spiritual and political power, the fons et origo of sanctitas. New jewel-like churches were being built to stand alongside the giant basilicas of the late Roman period and the papal palace at the Lateran had become the undisputed centre of authority in the city.

The transition from the late Roman to the early medieval worlds underlying the changing fabric of Mediterranean cities has been a subject of great interest to scholars of western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Near East at least since Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In recent years however there has been a renewed vibrancy and sophistication in the debate. A series of issues can be

For a dramatic demonstration of the change in size of Roman churches, see
B. Ward-Perkins, “The towns of northern Italy: rebirth or renewal?”, The Rebirth of
Towns in the West AD 77–1050
, eds. R. Hodges and B. Hobley, Council for British
Archaeology Research Report 68 (London, 1988), pp. 16–27, fig. 7.

Transition was chosen by Christie and Loseby as a suitably neutral term to
describe the evolution of urban history in this period. See Towns in Transition: Urban
Evolution in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
, eds. N. Christie and S.T. Loseby
(Aldershot, 1996), p. 2.

Encouraged in particular by the European Science Foundation project on the
“Transformation of the Roman World”. See the volumes of papers now beginning
to appear, for example: The Idea and Ideal of the Town between Late Antiquity and the
Early Middle Ages
, eds. G.P. Brogiolo and B. Ward-Perkins (Leiden, 1999). See also
G.P. Brogiolo and S. Gelichi, La città nell'alto medioevo italiano: archeologia e storia (Rome,
1998).

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