In Search of the Hospices of the Early Byzantine Provincia Arabia (4th–7th centuries ce)

In: Endowment Studies
Pauline Piraud-Fournet Sorbonne University, Paris, France
ArScAn, Nanterre, France

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From the fourth century ce, Christians were encouraged to redeem their faults by caring for the poor. The most striking manifestation of this phenomenon was the building by the Church of more or less specialised hospices throughout the Early Byzantine Empire (4th to 7th century ce) to accommodate those who depended on charity for their survival. These establishments are mentioned by ancient texts and lapidary inscriptions. About nine such facilities, ptocheion for the needy, xenodocheion for foreigners and travelers, diakonia where food was distributed and other types of charitable hospices can be listed in the ancient province of Arabia (Southern Syria, Northern Jordan). The available data, whether textual or archaeological since some remains are observable on the field, are presented in this paper and compared to those collected elsewhere in the Near East.

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