The mosaic pavements in Philippopolis and Augusta Traiana from Constantine I till Theodosius I. A short review

Cercetări Arheologice 29.1, 2022, 259-286
https://doi.org/10.46535/ca.29.1.13



The mosaic pavements in Philippopolis and Augusta Traiana from Constantine I till Theodosius I. A short review


Authors: Ivo Topalilov

Keywords:

mosaic pavements, Julian, restoration, Christianity, Arianism, Thrace

Abstract:

The present article focuses on the development of the mosaic art between the time of Constantine I and Theodosius I in Thrace based on the examples provided by the two urban centres in the province: the provincial capital Philippopolis and Augusta Traiana. The mosaic pavements were used to embellish private as well as public buildings, secular as well as religious in the term of the Christian basilicas – either built ex novo or incorporated into the existing complexes. Many of the questions had already been discussed in the recently published Corpus der Spätantiken und früchristlichen Mosaiken Bulgariens: Wien (Pillinger, R., Lirsch, A., Popova, V. (Hrgs.) and therefore the present article is a further step into the study of the matter. The development of the mosaic art in both cities should be considered into the discourse ‘Christians – non – Christians’, as well as ‘Arians – Orthodox’, and some of them may be linked with specific historical events which is very rare in the Late antiquity. The event under question is the march of the new emperor Julian in 361/362 on his way from Naissus to Constantinople, who seems to have resided in the region for some time and pursued the policy of restoration of the old temples, cults and associations as well as the prestigious past of the empire. It seems that his religious policy made a huge impact on the life of some cities that he reached on his way to Constantinople such as Serdica and Philippopolis and the mosaic pavements in Philippopolis provide a clue for this. The imperial presence was a catalyst also for similar initiatives in other urban centres in the province of Thrace such as for example Augusta Traiana. They also reveal that the question of the Arianic nature of the Christian community in Philippopolis and Augusta Traiana is far more complex than previously thought and in fact, the Arianic communities were not homogenous.

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How to cite: Ivo Topalilov, The mosaic pavements in Philippopolis and Augusta Traiana from Constantine I till Theodosius I. A short review, Cercetări Arheologice, Vol. 29.1, pag. 259-286, 2022, doi: https://doi.org/10.46535/ca.29.1.13


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