Sacred Townscapes in Late Antique Greece

Christianisation and Economic Diversity in the Aegean


  • Athanasios K. Vionis Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus



Aegean, Christianisation, churches, Late Antiquity, sacred landscapes, urban space


The towns and surrounding rural areas of the Eastern Roman Empire experienced a remarkable boom during Late Antiquity (late fourth to seventh century ad), which involved both extraordinary diversity from region to region but also continuities and parallel transformations in town size and monumentality. Early investment in church and fortification building on behalf of an ecclesiastical and secular/urban elite gave way to a gradual, progressive ‘Christianisation’ of townscapes in the late fifth and sixth centuries ad. This was a ‘global’ phenomenon, in that it began in many parts of the eastern Mediterranean world at more or less the same time, and this paper focuses on the example of central and southern Greece to discuss how this process relates to issues of urban diversity during this period. The article draws from a data set of excavated remains at Athens in Attica and Corinth in the Peloponnese, and from recent survey work in Tanagra in Boeotia.

Author Biography

  • Athanasios K. Vionis, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus
    Athanasios K. Vionis (BA University of Durham, PhD University of Leiden) is Assistant Professor in Byzantine Archaeology and Art in the Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus. His research interests include landscape archaeology and post-Roman pottery in the Aegean and Cyprus. He has participated in archaeological fieldwork in Greece (mainly the Cyclades and Boeotia) and Turkey (Sagalassos). Since 2014, he has been coordinating the Settled and Sacred Landscapes of Cyprus (SeSaLaC) survey project and field-school in Cyprus (Larnaca district) in collaboration with Dr G. Papantoniou (University of Bonn) and Dr D. Nicolaou (University of Mainz). His monograph, A Crusader, Ottoman and Early Modern Aegean Archaeology (Archaeological Studies 22, Leiden: Leiden University Press) was published in 2012.






How to Cite

Vionis, A. K. (2018). Sacred Townscapes in Late Antique Greece: Christianisation and Economic Diversity in the Aegean. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 30(2), 141-165.