Luís Fontes

The circulation of models in the construction of Christian Identity in the Peninsular NW:  Architecture and Hagiotoponymia in the Braga region (pdf)

(*En Portugués aquí; En Español aquí; En français ici)

Abstract:

With Braga as a case study, this essays deals with the issue of presence in the fifth through seventh centuries of different architectural models of Christian churches, models which denounce the existence of diverse influences and hereafter different contexts of communication and circulation. Based on the archaeological analysis of the architectural models of the church of Saint Marta das Cortiças (Falperra) from the fifth century, of the basilica of Saint Martin (Dume) from the sixth century, and the mausoleum of Saint Frutuosos (Real) from the seventh century, in which influences from the Adriatic zone are detected, via continental routes, by Ravenna, Milan and Tours and also by sea, by the Peninsular South and North Africa, the existence of a surprising updating of constructive models is discussed.

It will also be discussed, with the contribution of historical sources, the apparent correlation between the ‘paths’ of architectural models and the diffusion of the cult of saints and relics, trying to understand, through the analysis of hagiotoponymia, the origins and possible routes of the patron saints present in the ancient Christian landscape of Braga – can one explain the predominance of the holy martyrs of the Eastern Churches, many of whom are venerated exclusively in the Iberian Peninsula, by the recognized direct or indirect contacts with the East?

On the basis of the material evidence that archaeology has gradually come to discover, and contrary to what traditional historiography has considered, the fifth through seventh centuries were, in the northwest of the peninsula, a period of continuous constructive labor and social vitality, especially driven by the Church, in which external influences, endogenous inertia and creative autonomy are detected.

Finally, through the geopolitical characterization of their networks, the role of local elites in the processes of negotiation and/or imposition of powers, manifested in the confrontations of interests that animate social dynamics, will be approached.

 

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