From Tyche to Christian Emperor: A Historical Examination of Change and Antioch in Late Antiquity
Mace, Michael Crispin
MetadataShow full item record
The study of late antiquity reveals the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the classical order of the Mediterranean world, and the eventual ascendancy of the Islamic East and North Africa, the Byzantine Empire and the first Medieval kingdoms of Europe. A comprehensive understanding of this transformation demands an examation of political motives, as well as the social vehicles through which this metamorphosis was brought about. The Roman Empire of late antiquity was a dominion of urban centers; the cities of Rome contained the commercial, political and social resources for change. The Roman city of late antiquity served as the transmitter of a classical legacy and a location in which the seeds of a Christian empire were sewn. An examination of the transformations in a late Roman city as Christianity replaces polytheism will elucidate the processes which occur within the empire as a whole. As one of the finest cities to study through this period, Antioch on the Orontes was a pioneer in change. While the emperor Caligula was holding civic rituals, paying tribute to Capitoline Jupiter and the ageless divinity of Rome, a quiet revolution was beginning on the Orontes River in the Imperial Province of Syria. At a time when Rome seemed eternal, the Antiochene foundation of the "City of God" was laid down. It was in Antioch where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. Christianity's advent had merely changed traditions fixed in the span of a few years. Rather, the metamorphosis of Late Antique Antioch was indicative of changes which resulted from the alteration or desertion of classical traditions which in Antioch's case, begin with Alexander, and the Hellenization of the Orient.