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|Title:||Urban Change in Late Antique North Africa: The Role of Church Buildings|
|Abstract:||<p>The period of Late Antiquity was a time of substantial and fundamental change in cities throughout the Roman Empire, and North Africa presents plentiful (if often frustratingly enigmatic) evidence of this. By the 3<sup>rd</sup> century AD most if not all cities of any respectable size had a full complement of the monumental buildings which defined the standard Roman city, in particular a <em>forum</em> with its surrounding religious, administrative, business, and entertainment buildings. By the middle of the 5<sup>th</sup> century however it seems that many of these traditional urban centres had been abandoned, and that a new form of monumental architecture had appeared on the scene: the Christian church. The coincidence of these two events, the abandonment of the traditional <em>forum</em> complex and the rise of monumental Christian worship buildings, has caused some scholars to speculate on a link between them, and has even prompted some to propose that the churches replaced the <em>fora</em> as centres of urban life. This theory, however, rests on a number of questions which have not yet been fully answered. First, can the archaeological and epigraphic evidence support the assertion that churches were built at the same time as <em>fora</em> were abandoned? Second, did church buildings usurp any of the functions fulfilled by the <em>fora</em>, and in so doing replace them as urban foci? This thesis, by investigating both of these questions, shows that while the construction of churches and the decline of <em>fora</em> may indeed be related, that relationship is far more complex than one of simple replacement of function.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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