Get Religion in Late Roman Britain: Forces of Change PDF

By Dorothy Watts

ISBN-10: 020306173X

ISBN-13: 9780203061732

Religion in overdue Roman Britain explores the alterations in faith over the fourth century; the old heritage for those adjustments and the forces which contributed to them.

Dorothy Watts examines the explanations for the decline of Christianity and the continuation of the pagan, Celtic cults in Britain. the writer establishes a chronology for the increase and decline of Christianity, in keeping with the on hand archaeological proof, and he or she charts the destiny of the pagan cults and temples within the fourth century. the writer discusses the character of Romano-British pagan faith and he or she analyses the debatable ceremony of decapitated burial within the gentle of a few startling new archaeological facts.

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Extra info for Religion in Late Roman Britain: Forces of Change

Sample text

This is reflected in the treatment of cultic buildings and also in burial practices. For temples, there is some evidence of destruction or abandonment in the first half of the fourth century. 1; Firmicus Maternus Err. prof. rel. 6). A couple of temples were probably converted to churches, even if temporarily; and changed burial practices in discrete cemeteries indicate adoption of Christianity. On the other hand, there is evidence for the continuation of pagan religious activity, despite the edict of Constantius.

10). In 384, as prefect of Italy, he is said (Symmachus Rel. 43 The years from 360–94 should not be seen as a life-and-death struggle between Christianity and paganism. That battle had already been fought and won by the House of Constantine. If the policies of subsequent emperors gave pagans room for hope of regeneration, it was a false hope, without any real chance of success. Julian may have been able to stem the tide for a time, although his efforts seemed to have been a classic case of ‘too little, too late’.

The paganism of Symmachus was of the more traditional Roman kind. His petition to the Emperor Valentinian II for the restoration of the Altar of Victory (Rel. 3) is not so much an attack on Christianity38 as a plea to retain what has served the state well in the past. This senatorial pagan resistance did not, however, pose any real threat to Christianity, in part because there is no evidence that the senators at Rome took up Julian’s call to proselytise, or to reform the pagan cults to make them more attractive to the masses.

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Religion in Late Roman Britain: Forces of Change by Dorothy Watts


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