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THE FATE OF RURAL TEMPLES IN LATE ANTIQUITY AND THE CHRISTIANISATION OF THE COUNTRYSIDE

In: Late Antique Archaeology
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Throughout the Roman period the countryside was a landscape of sacred sites both monumental and natural. Rural temples were numerous and essential to the religious life of peasants and landowners. The fate of rural temples reveals something of the conflicting religious beliefs that were present in the rural landscape until the 6th c. Rural temples were among the first temples to be destroyed on some Christian estates, but in other places their power of attraction remained strong until the Early Middle Ages, even when they were in ruins. In the Early Byzantine period, however, temples were too visible, causing some Christians to lead expeditions against them. Convinced pagans searched for other, more remote, cult places to where they could maintain some form of pagan practice. These included inner sanctuaries inside their homes, or remote natural sites. Temple traditions were lost as a result.

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