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Old Society, New BeliefReligious transformation of China and Rome, ca. 1st-6th Centuries$
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Mu-chou Poo, H. A. Drake, and Lisa Raphals

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190278359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190278359.001.0001

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Ancient Statues, Christian City

Ancient Statues, Christian City

Constantinople and the Parastaseis Syntomoi Chronikai

(p.203) 12 Ancient Statues, Christian City
Old Society, New Belief

Paroma Chatterjee

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines some of the public statues of Constantinople between the 4th and sixth centuries CE, and their significance to a Christian audience as illuminated in literary records pertaining to the city. The Parastaseis Syntomoi Chronikai account dated to the eighth century CE, which not only describes the statues in their historical urban settings, but also details various encounters of viewers with them. Roman Empire perception was perpetuated into the future and encapsulated by the statues. The statues proved themselves to be superior to Christian images, which, up until the ninth century CE, were repeatedly debated concerning their very validity. The statues, however, never suffered the official interrogation and violence their Christian counterparts did—adding to their charisma and appeal over generations. Constantinopolitan public statuary offers critical insights into the ways a controversial ancient heritage imbricated itself into the very fabric of Christian material infrastructure and endured.

Keywords:   pagan statues, Constantinople, Christian images, pagans, public statuary

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