Refiguring the Post-Classical City examines the ‘Christianisation’ of four important Mediterranean centers at critical moments in a cultural paradigm shift, from classical to post-classical, that occurred from the third to sixth century. Tracing the partial displacement of traditional Greco-Roman cultural codes by an alternative set of Christian practices and signs, it presents a critical assessment of specific sites, including the Synagogue at Dura, the Temple of Artemis at Jerash, and the Baptistry in Ravenna. Through an analysis of the actions and audiences that occupied these spaces, Annabel Jane Wharton assesses the performative characteristics of architectural and pictorial space in late antiquity, arguing that changes in form both reveal and inform social meaning. Her study makes clear that art works and monuments were powerful protagonists in the violent ideological struggles that marked the rise of Christianity. Wharton also examines the historiography of her subject to demonstrate how post-classical works have been exploited at various historical moments in the construction of nationalism, fascism, and western civilization.
• Application of contemporary theory to the history of pre-modern cultural production • Critical assessment of the politics of the historiography of ancient Jewish and Christian art • Revised understanding of familiar monuments by considering them as an active part of the ceremonies staged within them.