UCL Early Medieval Atlas


IoA/BM seminar Dr Corisande Fenwick

11 May 2016, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

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Dr Corisande Fenwick: Building God's empire: archaeology, religion and the Byzantine reconquest of Africa

In 533-4, after nearly a hundred years of Vandal rule, the Emperor Justinian conquered Africa and made it Roman once more. Justinian's self-proclaimed aim went beyond restoring Roman rule in the West to the far-reaching ambition of uniting a doctrinally divided Christian world under one Empire, one God and one Church. Much recent scholarship explores the new relationships between church and state that emerged in this period through the lens of religious texts and Christian iconography but the most substantial body of evidence- the archaeological remains of hundreds of churches that were built or restored in Africa after the Byzantine conquest - has been overlooked. This paper accordingly combines analysis of regional patterns of church-building with topographic analysis of how churches 'worked' in towns to provide a new material-based account of religion, politics and imperialism in sixth-century North Africa.

Followed by a summer party in the Staff Common Room