Chromatius of Aquileia and the Making of a Christian City  book cover
1st Edition

Chromatius of Aquileia and the Making of a Christian City

ISBN 9780367594954
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
204 Pages

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Book Description

Chromatius of Aquileia and the Making of a Christian City examines how the increasing authority of institutionalized churches changed late antique urban environments. Aquileia, the third largest city in Italy during late antiquity, presents a case study in the transformation of elite Roman practices in relation to the urban environment. Through the archaeological remains, the sermons of the city’s bishop, Chromatius, and the artwork and epigraphic evidence in the sacred buildings, the city and its inhabitants leave insights into a reshaping of the urban environment and its institutions which occurred at the beginning of the 5th century. The words of the bishop attacking heretics and Jews presaged a shift in patronage by rich donors from the city as a whole to only the Christian church. The city, both as an ideal and a physical reality, changed with the growing dominance of the Church, creating a Christian city.

Table of Contents


1 Roman Aquileia: Where Trade and Pluralism Reigned

2 Chromatius: Patron, Peacemaker, Politician, and Preacher

3 Memories of the Past: Arians, Aquileia, and Authority

4 "Unlike in Tongue, Unlike in Dress or Arms?": The Place of Barbarians in a Christian World

5 "An Abandoned Nest": Jews in Aquileia

6 Writing in Stone: A Synagogue, Churches, and Changing Donation Patterns

7 Adapting Roman and Christian Ideals: Values for a New Elite

Conclusions: Intolerance and the "Christian" City



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Robert McEachnie is lecturer of the ancient world in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA. His research focuses on late antique transformations of culture along religious lines and has been published in Church History, Revue des Études Tardo Antiques, and several edited volumes.


Chromatius of Aquileia and the Making of a Christian City is a welcome and refreshing departure from the usual type of publication on social and religious transformations in the fourth century. By placing Chromatius and his rhetorical constructs at the centre, a colourful and gripping study of Aquileia and its inhabitants is born. This is indeed a thrilling tale of a bishop with a mission. The author narrates with originality and verve how Chromatius conquered the hearts and minds of this contemporaries, changed patterns of gift giving, and increasingly shaped the city to a Christian ideal.

- Dr Ine Jacobs, The Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, Oxford University, UK