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Late Antique Cities in the Rhineland: A Comparative Study of Trier and Cologne in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries

Davison, Christine R (2013) Late Antique Cities in the Rhineland: A Comparative Study of Trier and Cologne in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis exploits a range of textual, archaeological, and epigraphic sources to offer a comparative, inter-disciplinary study of Trier and Cologne in the fourth and fifth centuries. In the fourth century, the Rhineland was one of the foremost political and military hubs of the Western Roman Empire; Trier played host to the imperial court and Gallic praetorian prefecture, while the provincial capital of Cologne was a major base for the defence of the Rhine frontier. By the early fifth century, the institutions of central government were removed from Trier, and the Rhineland suffered from numerous barbarian attacks. This thesis begins by contextualising developments in Trier and Cologne in light of these political changes, focusing particularly upon the respective roles of barbarian agency and imperial decision-making in bringing them about. The systematic analysis of the impact of Christianisation on the cities that follows encompasses the nature of episcopal authority, the construction of churches, the emergence of saint cults, and the development of the epigraphic habit, and considers how far the new imperial religion was a vehicle for continuity, which helped Trier and Cologne to retain some of their importance into the post-Roman period. It draws upon documentary evidence provided by Christian writers and archaeological evidence recovered from numerous church sites to assess the extent to which the two cities were affected by the fifth-century barbarian attacks. Finally, an investigation of the topographical development of Trier and Cologne provides important indications of how far their built environments reflected political and social changes, and of the extent to which urban space was transformed or abandoned. This study therefore sheds light on Trier and Cologne specifically, but also looks to situate this evidence in the context of wider debates about urbanism, Christianisation, and the fall of the West.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.589324
Depositing User: Miss Christine R Davison
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2014 15:39
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:03
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5015

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