Temple Reuse in Late Antique Greece

Stefan Moffat, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
The subject of this thesis is the variety of ways that temples were reused by Romans, both Christian and non-Christian, at the end of Antiquity in the present-day country of Greece. It discusses these means of reuse using principally archaeological evidence as a means of countering interpretations of the material culture that temples were either destroyed or reused as churches. These interpretations are based on the assumption that contemporary written sources such as Saints' 'Lives' (the
more » ... 'Lives' (the literary genre known as hagiography) are an accurate portrayal of temple reuse in Late Antiquity, without taking into consideration the legendary nature of hagiography. On the other hand, they do not account for potentially contradictory evidence of temple reuse derived from archaeological excavation. It is argued in this thesis that archaeological evidence provides an alternative outcome to that described in contemporary written sources such as hagiography, one that emphasizes practical forms of temple reuse rather than religious. The evidence for this argument is presented at both a geographic level and as discreet categories of forms of reuse of both a religious and practical nature, as a first glimpse of the nuanced image of temple reuse in Greece. Specific examples of the evidence are then cited in a number of case studies to be further developed as a valid attribute in the characterisation of the Late Antique sacred landscape at the level of the Roman Empire. It is concluded that, although practical forms of temple reuse do not greatly alter the sacred landscape of Late Antique Greece, they are crucial in developing a more diverse view of Late Antique religion.
doi:10.20381/ruor-20870 fatcat:oq3fpyhlrbacjoppnadkidwkei