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Melania the YoungerFrom Rome to Jerusalem$
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Elizabeth A. Clark

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190888220

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190888220.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 April 2021

Rome: Empire, City, and Church

Rome: Empire, City, and Church

(p.20) 2 Rome: Empire, City, and Church
Melania the Younger

Elizabeth A. Clark

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 describes the Roman Empire in the fourth and early fifth centuries and important emperors of the period. Among imperial reforms was the introduction of a new form of coinage, the gold solidus. The chapter introduces the emperor Honorius’ important general of the western imperial troops, Stilicho, and his wife, Serena, who will figure in Melania and Pinian’s attempts at divestment. It describes the life of cities in that era, especially the city of Rome, and the role of Christianization in changing its urban landscape. Rome’s inhabitants were dependent on food brought from elsewhere and distributed to them by a system called the annona; disruption of the supply could lead to food riots, one of which plays a role in the couple’s attempts to divest. The building of churches and martyr shrines in and around Rome, importantly spurred by the emperor Constantine and his family in the early fourth century, later often became a cooperative venture between bishops (especially Damasus) and local elites. The cult of Saint Lawrence plays a significant role in the life of Melania: at his shrine or church, Pinian was persuaded to adopt a life of ascetic renunciation with her.

Keywords:   annona, Christianization, churches, coinage, emperors, martyr cults, Roman Empire, Rome

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