Rencontre internationale – Réseaux et espaces de l’hospitalité tardo-antique: nouvelles perspectives (14 octobre 2019 – ENS de Lyon)

Thekla Flask, now in the Louvre (c)Marlena Whiting

Dans le cadre d’un dispositif ELAN-ERC Idex Lyon – Université de Lyon (bén. : Cl. Fauchon-Claudon, ENS de Lyon – HiSoMA), aura lieu le 14 octobre 2019, à l’ENS de Lyon (14h30-18h, salle D4.040), une conférence dédiée aux réseaux et espaces de l’hospitalité chrétienne. Y interviendront deux spécialistes internationales dont les travaux contribuent à renouveler notre connaissance de ce domaine essentiel pour une étude de l’hospitalité antique sur le long terme. L’affiche de la rencontre est téléchargeable ici, et les résumés des interventions peuvent être consultés ci-dessous.

14h30-18h, salle D4.040

Marlena WHITING (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg – Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Procopius, The Buildings, and Institutions of Charitable Hospitality.

Throughout his treatise on the building works of the Emperor Justinian (r. 527-565 CE), the author Procopius makes several references to the construction of xenones, which, for want of a better term, are often translated as hospices. Frequently these establishments are said to be intended for the sick and the poor rather than exclusively for travellers. These buildings served an important social function in the Christian Roman Empire, and were an important form of imperial patronage. Furthermore, the inclusion of these institutions among the building types ascribed by Procopius to the imperial building programme of Justinian forms an important part of the author’s literary construction of an ideal stable and just rulership as exemplified through architecture. This paper will explore how the construction and patronage of institutions of charitable hospitality enhanced Justinian’s image as a just Christian emperor. 

Horden, P. (2005) ‘The Earliest Hospitals in Byzantium, Western Europe, and Islam’, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 35, no. 3, p. 361–89. 

Whitby, M. (2001) ‘Procopius’ Buildings, Book I: a Panegyrical perspective’, Antiquité Tardive, 8, pp. 45–57

Miller, T.S. (1997) The Birth of the Hospital in the Byzantine Empire. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


Sigrid MRATSCHEK (Universität Rostock – SFB “Bildung und Religion”)

Crossing the Boundaries: Networks and Manifestations of Christian Hospitality

Contrary to previous research findings, classical concepts of philoxenía and hospitalitas with reciprocity revived in Late Antiquity and strengthened Christianity. Using Matt. 25:35-40 as basis, Christian intellectuals like Ambrose, Paulinus of Nola and Johannes Chryostomus devised a competing model that transcended the pagan gift exchange tradition with the prospective imperishable ‘treasure in Heaven’ and brought the poor into Christian discourse as vessels of spiritual wealth. Promoted by the leading ascetics and bishops, these innovative perceptions and social practices of hospitality initiated the 4th-c. ‘communications revolution’ that ran parallel with the formation of epistolary networks and united the Christian centres around the Mediterranean, so that the common cause generated a kind of global web a networked world, criss-crossed by visitors, messengers, refugees and guests.

Brown, P. (2012) Through the Eye of a needle. Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD. Princeton, Princeton University Press, esp. ch. 4, p. 7577 (“The Poor and the Bounda­ries of Society”).

Granerod, G., Arterbury, A.E. et al. (2016), ‘Hospitality’, EBR 12, p. 449-459.

Mratschek, S. (2001), Paulinus and the Gradual Rise of Nola as a Center of Hospitality’, JECS, 9, p. 511-553.

Sotinel, C. (2006), ‘La circulation de l’information dans les Églises’, in L. Capdetrey and J. Nelis-Clément, eds., La circulation de l’information dans les États antiques, Bordeaux, Ausonius, p. 177-194.


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