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Christian Martyrdom in Late Antiquity (300-450 AD)

History and Discourse, Tradition and Religious Identity

Edited by: Peter Gemeinhardt and Johan Leemans
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The present volume’s focus lies on the formation of a multifaccetted discourse on Christian martyrdom in Late Antiquity. While martyrdom accounts remain a central means of defining Christian identity, new literary genres emerge, e.g., the Lives of Saints (Athanasius on Antony), sermons (the Cappadocians), hynms (Prudentius) and more. Authors like Eusebius of Caesarea and Augustine employ martyrological language and motifs in their apologetical and polemic writings, while the Gesta Martyrum Romanorum represent a new type of veneration of the martyrs of a single site. Beyond the borders of the Roman Empire, new martyrs’ narratives can be found. Additionally, two essays deal with methodological questions of research of such sources, thereby highlighting the hitherto understudied innovations of martyrology in Late Antiquity, that is, after the end of the persecutions of Christianity by Roman Emperors. Since then, martyrology gained new importance for the formation of Christian identity within the context of a Christianized imperium. The volume thus enlarges and specifies our knowledge of this fundamental Christian discourse.

Author Information

Peter Gemeinhardt, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany; Johan Leemans, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium.

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