Franz Joseph Dölger-Institut

zur Erforschung der Spätantike

Ubi Paulus et Sileas in carcere fuerunt. Sacral topography, civic memory, and Christianisation in Philippi (with 11 figures)

JbAC 62 (2019) Seiten: 94-117

This paper discusses the impact of Christianity on the formation of civic identity, focusing on the example of Philippi in Macedonia. It is argued that the narrative of the city via its monumental and sacred topography was amended in the early fourth century, so as then to include the story of Apostle Paul’s mission and suffering. The construction of the early fourth-century Christian shrine known as the Basilica of Paul is interpreted as a manifestation of a dialogue between the city of Philippi, the local Christian community, and Emperor Constantine. The Philippians invested in the founder of the local church, Paul the Apostle, in order to promote their city as a significant Christian centre, in a privileged relationship with the Christian imperial regime. The celebration of the city’s nexus with the Apostle continued throughout Late Antiquity, and was expanded through the construction in ca. AD 500 of a second shrine in his honour, Basilica A. A new reading of this complex reveals aspects of the cult of Paul at Philippi thus far overlooked.

Efthymios Rizos