Early Christian Europe
Module code: AR3012
Module co-ordinator: Dr Neil Christie
- How quickly did Christianity spread in the Roman world?
- How visible is late Roman Christianity in Britain?
- What is the archaeology of missionary activity?
- What types of monasteries existed?
- What can early Christian art tell us of patrons, messages, and belief?
- What is the archaeology of conversion?
Christianity had a major impact on both the late Roman and early medieval world. There is a substantial mental, social and physical legacy, but too often the scholarly emphasis goes on the history, the key figures – saints, bishops, martyrs, popes – or the art (from wall paintings to reliquaries). Yet archaeology in its various guises has a huge amount to contribute to our understanding of the spread, form and impact of the religion on people, towns, and the countryside across the period AD 300-1000. We can also use the archaeology to chart conversion among people such as the Anglo-Saxons, Lombards and Vikings.
In this module we will explore regions such as late Roman Britain, Frankish Gaul, Coptic Egypt, and papal/Byzantine Italy. We will look at key sites such as Rome, Ravenna, Sutton Hoo, Iona, Aachen and Montecassino; and at key names including St Benedict, Pope Gregory the Great and Charlemagne.
The module includes a field trip to the church of Breedon-on-the-Hill, a daughter monastic foundation of Peterborough Abbey, which is famous for its sculptural reliefs of the early Middle Ages and its fine and complex medieval architecture.
- Viewing the archaeology of Christianity
- Persecutions and martyrs
- Early papal Rome
- Urban Christianity
- Rural Christianity
- Art and learning
- Relics and pilgrims
- 18 one-hour lectures
- 2 seminars
- Half-day field trip
- presentation and essay, 2,500 words (50%)
- exam, two hours (50%)