K. Smith, Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia

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Kyle Smith, Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity, Oakland, 2016.

Éditeur : University of California Press
Collection : Transformation of the Classical Heritage
xxiii, 231 pages
ISBN : 9780520289604
95 $


It is widely believed that the Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity politicized religious allegiances, dividing the Christian Roman Empire from the Zoroastrian Sasanian Empire and leading to the persecution of Christians in Persia. This account, however, is based on Greek ecclesiastical histories and Syriac martyrdom narratives that date to centuries after the fact. In this groundbreaking study, Kyle Smith analyzes diverse Greek, Latin, and Syriac sources to show that there was not a single history of fourth-century Mesopotamia. By examining the conflicting hagiographical and historical evidence, Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia presents an evocative and evolving portrait of the first Christian emperor, uncovering how Syriac Christians manipulated the image of their western Christian counterparts to fashion their own political and religious identities during this century of radical change.


Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

Introduction: Constantine and the Writing of Fourth-Century History

PART I: THE ROMAN FRONTIER AND THE PERSIAN WAR

1 • Patronizing Persians: Constantine's Letter to Shapur II
2 • Constantine's Crusade: The Emperor's Last Days and the Persian Campaign
3 • Rereading Nisibis: Narrating the Battle for Roman Mesopotamia

PART II: ROMAN CAPTIVES AND PERSIAN ENVOYS

4 • On War and Persecution: Aphrahat the Persian Sage and the Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba?e
5 • The Church of the East and the Territorialization of Christianity
6 • Memories of Constantine in the Acts of the Persian Martyrs

Appendix A. Constantine's Letter to Shapur: Eusebius's Life of Constantine IV.8–14
Appendix B. Martyrdom of the Captives of Beth Zabdai
Appendix C. Martyrdom of Abbot Barshebya, Ten Fellow Brothers, and One Magus

Bibliography
Index

 

 

Source : University of California Press

 

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