Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Memories of Utopia: The Revision of Histories and Landscapes in Late Antiquity

 Memories of Utopia

These essays examine how various communities remembered and commemorated their shared past through the lens of utopia and its corollary, dystopia, providing a framework for the reinterpretation of rapidly changing religious, cultural, and political realities of the turbulent period from 300 to 750 CE.

The common theme of the chapters is the utopian ideals of religious groups, whether these are inscribed on the body, on the landscape, in texts, or on other cultural objects. The volume is the first to apply this conceptual framework to Late Antiquity, when historically significant conflicts arose between the adherents of four major religious identities: Greaco-Roman 'pagans', newly dominant Christians; diaspora Jews, who were more or less persecuted, depending on the current regime; and the emerging religion and power of Islam. Late Antiquity was thus a period when dystopian realities competed with memories of a mythical Golden Age, variously conceived according to the religious identity of the group. The contributors come from a range of disciplines, including cultural studies, religious studies, ancient history, and art history, and employ both theoretical and empirical approaches. This volume is unique in the range of evidence it draws upon, both visual and textual, to support the basic argument that utopia in Late Antiquity, whether conceived spiritually, artistically, or politically, was a place of the past but also of the future, even of the afterlife.

Memories of Utopia will be of interest to historians, archaeologists, and art historians of the later Roman Empire, and those working on religion in Late Antiquity and Byzantium.

Edition 1st Edition
First Published 2019
eBook Published 9 December 2019
Pub. Location London
Imprint Routledge
Pages 300
eBook ISBN 9780429448508

part I|72 pages

Writing and rewriting the history of conflicts

chapter 1|17 pages

Curating the past

The retrieval of historical memories and utopian ideals

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chapter 2|16 pages

Julian’s Cynics

Remembering for future purposes

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part II|49 pages

Forging a new utopia

chapter 5|17 pages

Purity and the rewriting of memory

Revisiting Julian’s disgust for the Christian worship of corpses and its consequences

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chapter 6|15 pages

Constructing the sacred in Late Antiquity

Jerome as a guide to Christian identity

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part III|81 pages

Rewriting landscapes

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chapter 9|11 pages

Two foreign saints in Palestine

Responses to religious conflict in the fifth to seventh centuries

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chapter 10|15 pages

Remembering the damned

Byzantine liturgical hymns as instruments of religious polemics

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chapter 11|18 pages

Paradise regained?

Utopias of deliverance in seventh-century apocalyptic discourse

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part IV|72 pages

Memory and materiality

chapter 13|25 pages

Spitting on statues and shaving Hercules’s beard

The conflict over images (and idols) in early Christianity

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chapter 14|19 pages

Athena, patroness of the marketplace

From Athens to Constantinople

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