Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

For over two centuries Penn has offered a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs representing all aspects of the broad field of Classical Studies, from languages and literature to history, archaeology and cultural studies. The Department encourages interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to teaching and research and maintains productive ties with a variety of programs, including Religious Studies, English, Comparative Literature, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Linguistics, Italian Studies, History of Art, and the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.



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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Christians in the Amphitheater? The «Christianization» of Spectacle Buildings and Martyrial Memory
    (2014-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, Kimberly
    In order to place the site of Sant’Agnese in Agone in its broader late antique and early medieval context, this article presents an overview of the archaeological evidence for Christian spaces inside spectacle buildings – stadia, hippodromes, theaters and amphitheaters. It suggests that the «Christianization» of such buildings was very rare, and in only a few cases linked to martyrial commemoration. The paper concludes by suggesting some reasons why spectacle buildings should have been so infrequently associated with martyrial memory.
  • Publication
    Personal Devotions and Private Chapels
    (2005-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, Kimberly
    The phenomena of private chapels and private ritual during the late antique period remain as cloaked in shadow as Melania's private midnight vigil. Indeed, the Christianity of the fourth through sixth centuries is typically characterized as rejecting the private for the public, as the church emerged from the homes that had sheltered it during the persecutions to assume the mantel of state-sponsored religion of empire. And yet, by defining the "triumph of the church" as the triumphal procession away from privately based cult to public religion, we have almost wholly overlooked one of late antique Christianity's most important substrands, the continuation and flourishing of private cult and the significant challenge it posed to a nascent institutional church.
  • Publication
    “...Nec Sedere in Villam.” Villa-Churches, Rural Piety, and the Priscillianist Controversy
    (2001-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, Kimberly
    What was the relationship between Priscillianism and Villas? Did Priscillianists meet and worship in villas? Archaeologists and historians have both made this suggestion more than once, although never in a rigorous manner, and perhaps now is the time for a real appraisal of the evidence.
  • Publication
    “Christianization” and the Rural Home
    (2007-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, Kimberly
    The "Christianization" of the home is taken up here by examining the specific problem of Christian ritual and ritual spaces on the rural estate. It is argued that most worship in rural villas took place outside ecclesiastical supervision or intervention, and instead was shaped by older seigniorial hierarchies. It was this particular sociology of worship that brought domestic worship under episcopal scrutiny. The dissonance between seigniorial and ecclesiastical social structures might leave Christian estates outside episcopally-centered communities, suggesting that the "Christianization" of the rural home might be an ambiguous, fissiparous process rather than a seamless cultural transformation.
  • Publication
    Christian Worship
    (2011-01-01) Bowes, Kimberly; Bowes, Kimberly
    When in 313 the emperor Constantine declared his support for the Christian religion, he was taking a risk. An earlier generation of church scholars had supposed that in the three hundred years since the death of Christ, his followers had manage to expand to the point that Constantine's declaration of support was simply a recognition of the inevitable--Christian triumph by sheer force of numbers. Recent work suggests a more complex reality. Christianity was very slow to get going: by about 200, perhaps as many as 200000 Christians existed on the earth. Even by maximum estimates of expansion, Christian populations in the early years of the 4th century probably totaled only about 6 million, perhaps as much as 10 percent of the Roman population. That 10 percent was unequally distributed: in cities, particularly in Rome and the big cities of the eastern empire, and among the poorer and, above all, more middling classes--merchants, lower-level bureaucrats, soldiers, and their wives-- who aspired to rank and prosperity. Christianity had more limited progress among the senatorial elite and in vast expanses of the countryside where about 90 percent of Romans lived out their lives as poor farmers. By 313, in other words, Christianity had a notable presence among urbanites climbing the social ladder, but among both old aristocratic elite and the rural majority the new religion was a vague form on a distant horizon. Constantine's support of Christianity in 313 was no capitulation to an inevitable surge of Christians, but rather a gamble, not only on a faith but also on a class of people on the move.