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Locating the sacred: senatorial aristocracy, urban space and religious change in Late Antique Rome (A.D. 312-535)

Grant number: 13/23976-3
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Carlos Augusto Ribeiro Machado
Grantee:Carlos Augusto Ribeiro Machado
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The aim of this project is to analyze the involvement of the Roman senatorial aristocracy in the religious and urban transformations that affected the city of Rome between the beginning of the 4th and the beginning of the 6th century A.D. This period was marked by profound transformations in the city, which affected all aspects of Roman society. Among these transformations, historians and archaeologists have traditionally paid special attention to the Christianization and to the physical transformation of the city, traditionally described as part the conversion of the former imperial capital into the centre of medieval Christendom. This research will seek to study these two processes, questioning the teleological narratives connected to Christian triumphalism and to the idea of a decline of the ancient world. In order to do this, we will focus on the ways through which a specific social group, the senatorial aristocracy, appropriated the urban space through building works, rituals, donations and gatherings of a religious nature. The actions of this group are well documented, and they include a wide range of behaviour and spaces of the city. This will be done using literary and epigraphic sources, as well as through the analysis of specific spaces of the city, particularly connected with this social group. Our aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the history of the city and of the religious transformations that helped to define this period. (AU)

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