Course Details

HIST 131: Saints and Society in Late Antiquity

In Late Antiquity (200-800 CE), certain men and women around the Mediterranean and beyond came to occupy a special place in the minds and lives of their contemporaries: they were known as holy men and women or saints. What led people to perceive someone as holy? What were the consequences of holiness for the persons themselves and the surrounding societies? When they intervene in their worlds, what are their sources of authority and power?  How did these holy figures relate to the established institutions--secular and religious--that surrounded them?  Working with a rich array of evidence, we will explore themes such as asceticism, embodied and verbal pedagogy, wealth and poverty, work, marginality, cultural difference, and protest/resistance. We will journey from the lands of Gaul, Italy, and Spain to North Africa and Egypt and the Holy Land, to Armenia and the Fertile Crescent.
6 credits; HI, WR2, IS; Offered Fall 2022; W. North